We are experiencing the biggest remote work experiment in history – but many are beginning to imagine life after lock-down. Meanwhile, the latest research reveals that 74% of businesses want some workers to permanently work remotely .Here are five key trends that will shape the future of how we work.
Commuting will change forever
We might miss the social interaction of the office, but most don’t miss commuting. Before lock-down, most workers spend more than a year of their lives travelling to and from work. So it may be that a hybrid strategy of working from home two days a week, is one ideal scenario.
Bad email etiquette won’t be tolerated
Workplace communication is rapidly transforming and email is a case in point. More than ever, creating a clear separation between work and leisure time is vital.Research repeatedly shows that sending out-of-hours emails is not only bad etiquette – but creates a coercive work culture that requires people to be available 24/7. Many now realize that colleagues might need to work flexibly due to caring responsibilities. Lock-down has encouraged a new acceptance of flexibility. But this shouldn’t extend to having a culture that expects people to be available all the time.
Video calls will be limited
Zoom calls will remain part of our lives – but we will change and adapt how we use them. Research shows that video calls are more draining and tiring than in-person meetings.
While video calls are appropriate for some meetings, we don’t need to use them for all our communication. Many people are shifting back to phone calls – which feels more spontaneous and flows better. More co-working spaces will emerge.
Workers forced to continue working from cramped living spaces are desperate for alternatives. When lock-down lifts they will turn to the cafes and co-working spaces that are still in business. Before COVID-19 hit, co-working spaces were projected to increase more than 40% worldwide. Independent co-working spaces in some areas were thriving before COVID-19 - they may become more mainstream if they survive lock-down.
Could we become part-time digital nomads?
Digital nomads are extreme remote workers that post Instagram stories from exotic locations. Right now, that lifestyle seems unrelatable, impossible and to many unethical.
Nonetheless, many decently paid workers in New York, London and Paris are stuck in uncomfortably small flats, dreaming of escape from lock-down. For now, remote working from different locations is not allowed. But the allure of relocating to a picturesque location remains when lock-down fully lifts, who’s to say more people will not work remotely from different parts of the world, beyond their living rooms.
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