Remote work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon even with Covid-19 restrictions slowly fading and fears of a recession looming on the horizon. There are two challenges that need to be addressed: A. The desire to interact in person with co-workers and B. The desire to interact in person with customers. Therefore, video chat and video conferencing technologies are continuing to gain momentum.
In a recent Working From Home research report, economists predict that approximately 30 percent of the workforce will settle into telework rather than return to in-person stations. Young professionals (employers in their 20s) have been the most affected by the shift to remote work. As generations, progress in time, so do their priorities. This is especially evident in younger professionals today as they seek a better work-life balance than previous generations. The ability to work from home not only provides greater flexibility but also more control for these individuals. Today, Gen Z and millennials are more willing to change jobs that cater to their beliefs and align with their priorities.
Ultimately, the main driver of working from home is whether it makes sense for the organization economically and if the employee is happy working out of the office. The shift in work culture is driven by advances in technology and the job tasks themselves. Today, a lot of work can be done through video live chatting calls and cloud technology. Companies such as Zoom and Slack provide workers with the necessary tools to work anywhere and anytime at their own convenience. In terms of work tasks, these are also changing to support working from home. Jobs in the financial, insurance, tech, and the medical industry that use to be done from large call centers, have all seen portions of work shifted to a new model of remote call centers. Telebanking and telemedicine are examples to segments that now use live video chat software in everyday lives to interact with customers.
In order to survive and prosper, humans are social beings that depend on cooperation. The social connection between humans on both a personal and professional level is a critical component of our everyday lives. Furthermore, people of all sexes, races, and ages seek more flexibility in their everyday lives. This is why going forward, the aspect of human engagement and flexible work schedule will be a focal point for those that seek to succeed in a remote work setting.
People will have to utilize various tools to compensate for the lack of human engagement in and out of the office. For example, making communication transparent is one aspect that can help. By encouraging employees to use public channels such as slack to talk, rather than emails, would enable remote teams to build connections. It provides the comfort that everyone is part of the discussion and enables employees to feel that they are contributing in a positive manner to the company. Additionally, creating a co-working community is another tool that can help people who chose not to work from the office. The concept was developed by digital nomads to provide a sense of community wherever one may choose to work. Companies such as Selina offer recreation, wellness, and local experiences in numerous countries. These communities help make up for the lack of office camaraderie by providing a sense of belonging.
According to a recent Mckinsey report, approximately 90% of respondents would prefer flexible work options. This is especially important for people such as young parents or university students. Working remotely gives employees the flexibility to set their own schedules and pick their own locations. It may be desirable for a mother with young children to design her own work schedule to accommodate the schedules of their children. For a recent university graduate, being able to work fewer hours during finals is crucial to balancing work and school responsibilities. Ultimately, flexible work models empower employees by providing them with autonomy over their work lives. With proper human engagement technology, they also get the benefit of interacting with people face to face and providing better personal service.
As the shift to remote working becomes more ingrained in society and culture, the way we work will never be the same. Technology that allows people to interact remotely such as video chat is part of that formula.