In 2020, organizations were unexpectedly forced to choose the path of working remotely, as a measure to continue business operations in the face of the pandemic, with hopes to bring teams back into the office spaces shortly. But now, more than a year later, a good number of organizations across the world, including giant conglomerates, are considering flexible working. Several global organizations are making headlines announcing permanent hybrid work models since they believe it to be the future of work.
This huge decision has been since both employees and employers have realized the long-term benefits of a Flexi mode of working. The new working models are proving to be cost-effective (for both), boosting productivity and ability to successfully meet the business goals.
Some of the top and leading organizations like Fujitsu, Pinterest, Quora, Upwork, and the likes are embracing the ‘remote first’ option for their employees. And most business leaders are now making strategic decisions leveraging on the remote-work culture to shift focus to a remote or hybrid workforce in the future.
With a good number of employees, almost 40% of the workforce in developed nations reportedly working on a remote model (including work from home) since the pandemic, organizational policies are gradually evolving to inculcate them. Many businesses have proactively updated their company policies to accommodate a remote working culture, to fit a distributed workforce.
How is Remote Working Reshaping the World?
While some organizations allow employees to work fully remote, some are only partially remote. But the trend is keeping up and if this persists for a while (or in the future) it would dramatically reshape economies, and impact industries like transportation, and affect consumer spending, among many others.
When people work remotely, it could lead to lowering the demand for the bistros, restaurants, bars, and other service providers in the business downtown areas.
Similarly, adopting a remote working model can lead to widening the inequalities, providing better benefits like greater flexibility and lower costs to a minority of employees who have the luxury of working from home.
Can All Jobs Be Fully Remote?
When job roles that involve research, data processing coding, development, and the likes can be remotely done, how about those that involve lab works, driving heavy vehicles, and fieldwork be done remotely?
Statisticians may be able to analyze data and information remotely but to do a similar task, a surveyor must travel to a site.So, the future of work is not fully remote but finding the right balance with flexible or hybrid working models. A model where the workforce splits their work time between home and office.
What Are Nations Doing to Support Remote Working?
Surprisingly, several nations across the world, from Hawaii to Barcelona to Barbados and Estonia, have adopted measures to boost remote working, to push travel and tourism, and boost their economies.
In a move to appeal to those on a remote working schedule, and those longing to escape from their home for short periods, these hot destinations are designing exciting remote visa programs to welcome visitors.
• Hawaii– Introduced a campaign that appeals to remote workers, offering free round-trip tickets to the country for a limited crowd, in addition to discounts on stay and other benefits.
• Montserrat– Has launched an attractive visa policy for foreign remote workers, allowing them to stay on the island for up to one year.
• Mauritius– Yet another island country that has introduced a similar visa like Montserrat for remote workers.
• Antigua and Barbuda– Calling it their ‘Nomad Digital Residence program’ the nation has come up with an initiative to pull in foreigners on a remote working model to stay in the country for almost up to two years.
• Aruba– Introduced a “One Happy Workation” program that allows remote workers from foreign countries to stay on the Caribbean Island for up to 3 months, combining vacation and work, offering them attractive packages for their hotels, resorts, and even rental homes.
• Barbados– Introduced a year-long program called the Barbados Welcome Stamp, allowing remote workers to live in the country for one year.
• Estonia– Allows remote workers a chance to stay in the country for one year as per their newly launched Digital Nomad Visa.
The pandemic has changed the landscape of remote work beyond recognition, with remote work taking the center stage, altering our mindsets on the future of work. If remote work was only a trend earlier, it became more of a necessity and a reality in 2020. And 2021 is probably the year companies can reflect on the key lessons learned over the past year, and leverage these takeaways to create your optimal workplace of the future.