Is Remote Work Here to Stay?
[9/14/2021] “Is remote work here to stay?” It’s the question on everyone’s lips this year as COVID restrictions slowly loosen.
‘The New Normal’
The past year and a half have been an exercise in patience, adaptability, and endurance. In early 2020, employers and employees simultaneously pivoted to remote work, leaving office towers strangely deserted. Crowded rows of cubicles turned into a thing of the past, and yoga pants swiftly became the new work trousers. Weeks turned into months, and we all began to wonder: Was remote work just a phase, or would we embrace this thing for the long run?
Now, members of the workforce have ostensibly settled into the so-called ‘new normal’—one of the countless buzzwords to come out of 2020. Remote work has lost the sheen of novelty and has become just another routine of daily life. Is it perfect? No, but then again, very few things in this world are. Is it better than 9-5 office work? The answer depends on who you ask. But will it stick around? The short answer is yes.
It’s safe to say that remote work will be around for many years to come. And truth be told, remote work has always existed; it was just far less common pre-pandemic. The great Office Exodus of 2020 has shown that remote work on a massive worldwide scale is feasible, and the world will never be the same.
The Way of the Future
Let’s take a look at the data. Global business consultant McKinsey suggests that the future framework of remote employment is called the ‘hybrid virtual model.’ Just as the name would imply, this strategy involves a combination of remote and office work. McKinsey estimates that upwards of 20% of the current workforce could work 3-5 days of the week from a remote location just as effectively as they could from the office.
A hybrid virtual model could offer the best of both worlds: the flexibility of remote work, plus the collaborative nature of office work. Before the pandemic, many office workers would tell you they were fed up with the humdrum 9-5 cubicle life. Post-pandemic, office employees are chomping at the bit to see their co-workers and have an actual, Zoom-less meeting. Too much of anything can lead to employee burnout, so many companies may balance the scales with a bit of each.
Experts believe remote work is here to stay—not for everyone, and not all the time, but we’ll never fully revert to work as we knew it just a few years ago.
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