Remote work has its perks: the freedom to work wherever you please gives people the opportunity for work/life balance that was practically unimaginable just a few years ago.
But it’s not just about where you’re allowed to do your work. There are many strategies that organizations can implement with unexpected benefits for employees:
- Headquarters or no headquarters? A recent Silicon Republic article cited PwC’s talent and mobility report, which showed that the average number of office locations per company nearly doubled in a single decade. The trend is expected to continue, forecasting an average of 33 locations per company in 2020. As so much talent becomes geographically distributed, we may begin to witness less demand for a centralized hub. This may result in several changes for companies – including real estate decisions – as they consider how important a large, communal space is for employees and customers. Some companies are even opting to forego a traditional HQ, a precedent that shows how important mobility will be for workplaces of the future.
- Expand professional development. According to the same report, 71 percent of Millennials expect an overseas assignment as part of their career trajectory. Companies should be prepared to address relocation preferences with matched enthusiasm: an employee who can understand global and localized differences in business processes becomes an asset. The ability to offer this perk to prospective and existing team members can impact their long-term contributions to the company.
- Think beyond ‘work from home.’ Remote work is supported by cultural and structural policies that enable employees to think differently about planning their day and their lives outside of work. Remote work should be more than the freedom to skip the commute or the option to relocate to a city where the company doesn’t have a physical office space. The policies create an environment where people can more easily vocalize unique schedule requests and accommodate real-life scenarios that can crop up without guilt or fear of negative perceptions.
- Leverage transferable skills and evaluate talent differently. The tech community has benefited from an uptick in remote work. In the Silicon Republic article Jenny Darmody writes, “due to the global languages in software development, coding, and data analytics, technological proficiency can be considered one of the most transferable skills in the world.” Importantly, freelancers are mobile, tech-related or not, and they are a growing percentage of the workforce. For this reason, companies should prepare teams for working with freelancers so relationships with external resources can be most effective. Companies need to assess how to operate with the Gig Economy while still nurturing and incentivizing their full-time workforce. With remote workers – both full-time staff and freelancers – learning new skills in an evolving global economy, new best practices will emerge for teams to set themselves apart and operate smoothly.
- Master new ways to communicate. One skill that is rapidly changing is communication. Today’s workers must be adept at understanding how best to get a message across, accounting for reporting hierarchies and generational preferences, among other things. Those who are agile and can navigate between different modes of communication will be best situated to lead and grow in the modern workforce. Communication skills – and the technology that supports them – will be more important than ever at demonstrating proficiency and building trust across remote teams. This stands to be a key metric for evaluating the leaders of tomorrow.
What other benefits to remote work would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.
For more on why employees (and employers) should embrace remote work options, check out “12 Reasons to Embrace Working Remotely.”