Remote work appears to be the future of work. Companies that are fluid enough to adapt to emerging workplace trends have even adopted either of two much-discussed modifications of remote work, namely: hybrid work and work-from-anywhere models. Workers’ increasing affinity bolsters this change for remote work and the adjustments employers make to accommodate new demands in their labor markets.
On the other hand, some companies with rigid structures and policies that do not support remote work are currently having difficulty getting workers back in the office. Many workers are now reportedly searching for more flexible work routines. While working from a central office is excellent, embracing remote work makes employers more likable to job-seekers. It allows recruiters to expand their talent search to a global pool.
A rising number of organizations are going fully remote, and these are on the top of the target list for job seekers across the globe. Typical examples are Hubstaff, Swiftly, Spotify and Zapier. Others like Atlassian, Coinbase, Meta, Dropbox, HubSpot, Shopify, and many others are fast switching to permanent remote work.
Why Some Companies May Not Be Able to Implement Remote Work
According to Aubrey Chua, one of the biggest obstacles stopping organizations from going remote is their inability to switch from the traditional office setting to a more flexible work model. Chua is the senior auditor at Clark Schaefer Hackett, an Ohio-based business advisory firm with offices in Kentucky and Michigan.
Chua’s view on the evolving remote work situation is that companies married to the tradition of staffing a central office setting typically have internal controls and processes associated with standardized workflows. These processes are usually quite complex to replicate when staff members work from various locations and are no longer in the same building. Chua also noted that there are now technologies that facilitate electronic approval processes, which can fill that gap, but that depends on if those companies are willing to implement them.
Additionally, Chua noted that “it’s also been tricky for some to move from in-person meetings and desktop computers to get equipped for a fully remote workforce. Basic steps such as buying laptops for their employees or implementing communication processes that take the place of those in-person meetings might not be as simple for some companies as it has been for others.”
For organizations to go fully remote, they have to be up to the task of finding alternative solutions that allow employees to work without restrictions while still letting them monitor the performance and productivity of workers. Any logistically requisite software for implementation or security must be licensed for more devices and redistributed. Some organizations have a more challenging time than others accounting for this decentralization because databases and drives have to be split and siloed for individual departments.
Remote Work’s Effect on Culture
Another angle to companies’ struggle with remote work is its impact on existing workplace culture. Work culture, as we know it, has changed. Companies are now adopting remote-friendly technology — and job seekers are aware of this development. Fortune Magazine has it that nearly 35% of job openings in brand marketing and management, account management, sales engineering, DevOps, and quality assurance are fully remote. In other words, companies wishing to attract and keep top talents must stay aware of and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
Chua also said that when employers hire someone for a fully remote work situation, “it’s important to adjust the pieces of training that appropriately address that circumstance. Some companies have not updated their policies and procedures to provide information that addresses those who only work remotely, which can affect whether or not these new hires feel like they’re being welcomed into the company.” A related, important consideration is connecting new remote hires with a mentor or coach to whom they can reach out for guidance through the company’s processes and procedures.
One key example of how the need to reinvent the process becomes paramount would be the healthcare continuum. As more healthcare institutions evolve to embrace telehealth, as noted in Elsevier’s recent “Clinician of the Future” report demonstrates that a significant concern is the need to retain clinicians to show empathy while attending to their patients.
Companies currently trying to navigate the remote work model can also take a cue from Tractor Supply Co., which, in anticipation of the post-quarantine return of workers to the office, implemented cutting-edge renovations to COVID-proof its Store Support Center. This development allowed its employees the freedom and flexibility to choose a work model that works best for them.