One thing has become clear over the last few years: Remote work is here to stay. If you've implemented a flexible work model for your business, knowing some remote working trends can help you stay ahead of the field and create a positive workplace culture for your remote employees. This guide explores the latest remote work trends for 2024 so you can prepare effectively.
Remote work remains popular
While not every employee wants to work remotely, this work model remains incredibly popular. According to McKinsey and Company's recent "American Opportunity Survey," 87% of people choose to work flexibly when it's an option. These flexible work models offer many benefits for employees, including:
- Healthier work-life balance: Employees who work from home, even part of the time, can achieve better work-life balance. Often, remote employees can set their working hours, allowing them the flexibility to manage both work and personal commitments.
- Ability to live where they want: Work-from-home trends eliminate the need for people to move for a new job. They can live wherever they want if they have internet access.
- Convenience for caregivers: People with young children or elderly parents can benefit from work-from-home opportunities. Flexible work allows them to care for dependents without paying exorbitant caregiving costs.
- No more commutes: Not having to commute daily can save many people time and help them avoid stress. They can also save money on public transportation or fuel costs.
While remote work has obvious benefits for employees, it also has advantages for your business. It can give you a competitive edge when hiring, allowing you to attract top talent to your organization. You can also hire employees from anywhere, so you're no longer restricted by geographic boundaries. Flexible work options make employees feel valued and appreciated, leading to a better workplace culture for everyone.
Hybrid work can be an effective compromise
Some companies must have employees in the office, either to complete team projects, and check in with workers, or maintain company culture. If you want employees to work in the office, consider the option of a hybrid work model. In this case, employees attend the office some days and work remotely the rest of the week.
Gallup research shows the hybrid work model can be beneficial for employers and their workforces. Nine out of 10 remote-capable employees prefer this flexibility, according to the research, and eight in 10 companies plan to continue this model for at least the next 12 months.
Adopting a hybrid model can have many benefits for your business, including:
- Improved communication with opportunities for face-to-face collaboration
- Greater employee satisfaction and improved morale
- Increased productivity resulting from a healthy work-life balance for employees
- Better outcomes for employees' mental health
"Flexible work options make employees feel valued and appreciated, leading to a better workplace culture for everyone."
New tools make remote work easier
With rapid technological advancements, more tools have become available to make flexible work easier for stay-at-home workers. Many companies now invest in these tools, such as videoconferencing software, team-based messaging platforms, and virtual project management tools. This technology makes it easier for employees to communicate with their supervisors and other team members when they're not in the office together.
Another remote work trend is the emergence of monitoring software. Some companies use this software to ensure remote employees stay productive throughout the day. For example, it might monitor mouse movements or keyboard strokes to ensure employees are working. If you choose this tool, be transparent with employees and tell them how and why you're monitoring them.
Businesses use remote work to improve employees' well-being
The increase in remote work has led more businesses to recognize how it can improve employees' overall well-being. According to a recent Deloitte survey, seven in 10 executives believe remote working has positively impacted their employees' well-being. As they make remote work the norm, rather than the exception, they're finding new ways to encourage well-being. For example, they may offer mental health resources to remote employees or adopt new policies that allow them to take routine breaks throughout the day.
As you consider the well-being of your remote employees, also reflect on the isolation or loneliness they may feel. Find ways to allow remote employees to connect and collaborate with others. For example, you might host virtual happy hours for the team or hold weekly video check-ins with your remote staff.
Cybersecurity becomes increasingly important
When companies had to switch abruptly to remote work several years ago, many weren't prepared for the increased cybersecurity risks. More companies now understand the need to take cybersecurity seriously, especially if they have a remote workforce. OpenVPN recently conducted a survey of IT leaders to learn about their remote work policies. It found the most common elements of these policies included:
- Mandatory virtual private networks
- Encryption of sensitive data
- No work-related data on personal devices
- Required security training
- Mandatory password managers
As you continue to focus on your cybersecurity, consider implementing these policies to protect your business information and sensitive data.
Companies invest in digital skills
Companies also are investing in their remote employees’ digital skills. These abilities will become increasingly important as employees work with new virtual collaboration tools. Consider ways you can upskill employees to make them feel more comfortable using digital tools. For example, you could provide virtual training on new technologies or opportunities for employees to take classes and earn certifications in digital areas. Investing in digital skills will ensure your employees can succeed in remote settings.
Teams improve onboarding processes for new employees
More teams have started to consider ways they can streamline and improve the onboarding process for new remote employees. For example, teams may have designated mentors who work with new employees for the first few weeks, or they might create a series of virtual webinars for employees to learn company policies. Other onboarding best practices for remote employees include:
- Introduce new employees in workplace communication channels
- Schedule informal virtual meetings between new employees and department leaders or managers
- Have virtual one-on-one meetings with new employees after their first 30, 60, and 90 days
- Develop an employee resource group for new employees
Employers find new ways to create positive cultures
One concern many employers have when moving to remote work is whether it will negatively impact company culture. When employees don't work in a common location, consider how you can create a sense of community and team spirit. Some companies use employee experience software to build a positive culture. This software can provide updates on workplace achievements and send reminders about employees' birthdays or anniversaries.
Here are other ideas to create a positive remote culture for your business:
- Provide consistent feedback to show employees their work matters
- Offer public recognition or acknowledgment for employees' hard work
- Send a note or gift to employees to recognize milestones, such as the birth of a child or a 10th work anniversary
- Provide opportunities for continual learning and professional development
- Create a mentorship program for new and entry-level employees
- Host workplace competitions or contests, such as a talent show or weekly trivia challenge
Whether you've implemented a flexible work model or you're considering a transition to remote work, these remote working trends can help you plan the future of your business. By knowing some remote work trends, you can position your company to attract top talent and build a workforce of engaged, satisfied employees.
More tips on flexible work models
Workplace flexibility has become a major factor as people decide where to apply for jobs. Here's what today's candidates want when it comes to remote work.
How do you know whether a flexible work arrangement is right for your business? Consider these benefits and drawbacks.
If you're not ready to make the move to a 100% remote workforce, here are some alternative work schedules you can offer.