Remote Work Trends 2020

Remote work has infiltrated almost every industry worldwide. Any job that can be accomplished without having to be in a specific physical location can be done remotely.

All around the world, especially in the US, remote work is on the rise. Whether full-time or part-time, more employees are accessing remote working options in 2020 than ever before. There are some key indicators that point to this trend continuing, and good reasons for your company to consider such options for your employees.

1. In-office workdays

Remote work doesn’t work for everyone, and some teams work better when they are in the same physical location. However, in-office days are one way to strike a balance for those who like to be in an office environment and those who find they are more productive working from home.

In-office days can take many forms. Some companies might want employees to commit to specific days each week, while others might want to see teams meet a few times a year. Other companies might have an expectation that their employees attend weekly meets but work where they please, while some might only communicate online.

The benefit of in-office work is that it helps keep remote workers grounded. They feel that they’re part of the company and they become more familiar with their coworkers, as well as company values. It can also boost productivity and reduce any feels of isolation.

2. Cybersecurity 

Industry experts agree that cybersecurity is a big issue for remote workers. Issues include accessing secure data through unsecured networks, using personal devices to complete company work, and displaying or speaking about sensitive company information publicly.

It is expected that more companies will implement widespread cybersecurity policies and improve the basic layers of data security for remote and contract workers in 2020. Cybersecurity resources are always improving, however, employee education needs to follow to ensure that those working remotely are doing all they can to contribute to the security of company assets.

3. Digital water coolers

When a team consists of remote workers either partially or fully, office coworkers can feel that remote workers aren’t pulling their weight, or that the remote workers are not even part of the team. This is especially the case if there are few physical meetings between remote workers and on-site workers, or even remote workers with each other.

Employers are increasingly looking for ways to recreate the ‘water cooler’ online.

Video chat sessions, instant messaging apps or and other collaboration tools are helping to keep workers connected and feeling like they understand the task and completion rates of others in the company.

These connection tools help workers to create bonds, build trust, and communicate with ease. Remote workers should have space to communicate away from the eyes of management, as they would in an office environment, so they can discuss any work difficulties without feeling threatened or out of their depth. This also allows people to collaborate, share knowledge and build relationships.

  1. Skills are even more important

Research suggests that being a “generalist” can be better than being a specialist in terms of workplace success and salary in a traditional job. However, remote workers need to have a specialised skill set that they can exploit for advancement.

Freelancers can earn more by niching into a specific field and becoming proficient in niche skills. Offering skills that are less common, or fill a specific market will attract higher pay for contract or even permanent roles. Working unsupervised requires a level of self-confidence and mental agility that is often only acquired after working in an office environment for many years.

5. Digital nomads seek new spaces

Digital nomads do their work while travelling the world. It is a great way to see the world while working and does not require travellers to get a work permit in every country they visit. However, it also presents some limitations, as workers need a reliable Internet connection in a secure environment to complete tasks.

New businesses, such as co-working spaces, hotels, and Airbnb-style rentals are aiming their services towards the digital nomads market. This is likely to continue growing as the number of digital nomads grows in 2020.

6. Companies are embracing remote workers

Many companies are looking for a way to solidify remote work policies. There are many benefits for companies choosing to offer employees remote working opportunities. Fewer in-house employees mean lower overhead costs in the form of reduced office space and utility usage. The changes to how we work, including the hours that people need to commit to each week, the flexibility of hours, in-office or out-of-office work arrangements and even the number of employees needed to operate companies is evolving thanks to the technology that is making life more globalised and busy.

7. Employees work longer hours

One of the major downsides of remote work is long hours. According to a recent survey, remote workers work more than 40 hours per week or 43{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b} more than on-site employees.

Part of this calculation includes working when an on-site worker would be making their daily commute to the office, movement around the office, and leaving the office for lunch. Remote workers do leave their homes and working spaces, however, they don’t do it every day, which adds up to more working hours each day without it feeling like an extended workday.

The problem comes when remote workers can’t draw the line between working hours and personal time. This is a common issue. It can be difficult to get away from your work if you do it at home. However, most remote workers overcome this problem relatively early on by developing systems to help manage work versus personal hours.

What do these trends mean for you?

If you are a remote worker, or if your company is looking to offer such opportunities, it is a good idea to be aware of these trends so that you can address them before they give you cause to reconsider making moves to modernise your working environment. Remote work is not suitable for all roles, and it is not suitable for all employees.

Allowing people to make informed choices about how to manage remote working options is the best way to ensure that you are successful as a company and as an employee. Remote work requires people to trust, be self-disciplined and harness their communication skills.