Remote workers have always been around, but never before has such a huge section of the labor market been taken up by remote-only jobs. According to Forbes, as many as 25% of all American professional jobs will be remote by the end of 2022, with opportunities set to increase through to 2023. While a huge portion of the market, this is not yet an entirely digital world. For the labor force to make a true step forward and become digital by default, a few key trends will need to emerge.
A remote working infrastructure
For workers to succeed at home, they need areas of their home that are conducive to productivity. This is not the case for many remote workers, who have experienced rapid transitions from workspace to their home. In the tech hubs of the country, such as California, this is especially pronounced due to shrinking living spaces. Sofa and bed working is common, which is disastrous both for mental wellbeing and workplace productivity. Tackling this trend comes from two directions. The first are collaborative working spaces, which, according to Vox, are seeing huge growth. In San Francisco, 100 Van Ness is an example of one such development providing gigantic remote-working facilities. The second is through empowering and educating workers on creating their own effective work-at-home spaces. A large area is not required to make an effective space – instead, it’s about layout and direction. Companies providing resources towards this will reap productivity rewards.
Creating more services
A huge benefit of remote working is reclaimed time. The commute is vanquished, and micro-breaks throughout the day can be used for chores – washing clothes, dishes, and so on. This leaves more time in the evening for relaxation or, in many cases, extended working days to deal with urgent projects. This is a good thing – but it has to be supported with services. According to EasySend, the transition to a digital-first service economy has been anything but easy, and many barriers remain. In order for remote working to be viable at a huge scale, it must be easy for workers to manage their private lives from home.
Remote workers are adept in IT, but only insofar as what they have been required to learn in the office environment. According to Computer Weekly, this is an active detriment to the ability of businesses to continue pushing forward their transformation agendas. One key area this can be seen in is document handling. 56% of workers still print their work, and 50% still scan, despite only 40% having this equipment at home. Building familiarity with the digital medium, and providing tools to support that, is a crucial step businesses have to take.
A key theme runs through all of these trends – enabling. Remote workers want to be remote, and their work lends itself to working at home. For there to be real success and widespread adoption, however, the industry has to do more to equip and enable these workers.
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