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27 Remote Workers & Business Leaders Reveal the Most Interesting Trends in Remote Work in 2021

Cristina Daroca February 9, 2021

2020 saw an unprecedented number of companies adopt a digital workplace environment. The shift from working in traditional office spaces to working remotely made it necessary for companies to come up with innovative solutions to the challenges of managing a digital workforce. It also encouraged many of us to change our minds about remote work, and to embrace it as ‘the new normal.’

Now that 2021 is in full swing, it’s an opportune time to think about what remote work trends we can expect to see in the year ahead. While no one can say with absolute certainty which trends will define remote work in 2021, we can get an idea of what’s ahead by asking professionals engaged in the remote workforce to share their expert predictions and insights.

To learn more about the most interesting trends to expect in remote work in 2021, we reached out to a panel of remote workers and business leaders and asked them to answer this question:

“What will be the most interesting trends in remote work in 2021?”

Meet Our Panel of Remote Workers & Business Leaders:

Keep reading to find out what interesting remote work trends our experts predict we’ll see this year.

Edwin Rubio

@ItsVaporEmpire

Edwin Rubio is the VP of Sales at Vapor Empire, a Los Angeles based e-cigarette retailer. Edwin has experience in full-cycle marketing, project management, data analytics, and managing sales teams. He believes in building meaningful, long-lasting business relationships.

“As our company and many others have gone remote, there has not been anything pushing for us to return to the office…”

So, I believe that most companies that have already gone remote and sustained productivity will continue to stay remote. A few things need to be considered before we even think about making the move back:

  • Is there a vaccine? If not, is there adequate space to allow for employees to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet apart?
  • Would we need to wear our masks in the office at all times?
  • Will sanitization efforts be happening throughout the day, or only when everyone has left?
  • Is it even worth the risk?

The way I see it, businesses around the world are adapting and getting more comfortable with the process of working from home, so we may be in the midst of a fully remote trial run that could be kept in place indefinitely. If most businesses can operate remotely without hindering performance, is there even a need to return?

Could that additional money saved from office space be recycled into other business needs or additional employee benefits? Is it potentially more beneficial for the business as a whole to continue remote work?

Nicole Garcia

@most_craft 

Nicole Garcia is the Chief Marketing Officer of Mostcraft, an online resource blog for arts and crafts.

“The most interesting trend we will probably see in 2021 is the continual increase in demand for remote workers…”

While remote working has been around since before the pandemic, many more businesses decided to transition to remote working since COVID-19.

The advantages of working at home, such as time flexibility, work-life balance, quality time with family, and helping the environment by not adding car pollution and reducing traffic congestion, are reasons that business owners may decide to start or continue with remote work. An increase in the search for IT professionals and remote software/applications will also be part of this trend.

John Cho

John Cho is the founder of My Pet Child.

“Without a doubt, more employees will want to work remotely, and workplaces will be obligated to make it a possibility…”

This will happen not just because of safety considerations but also because employees have proven that although it is an imperfect situation, overall, they are able to deliver results without being in a traditional office environment.

I think remote work will be accommodated less in creative-oriented industries than in industries where employees do less group work, such as sales.

 

Ashwin Sokke

@officialbuywow

Ashwin Sokke is the co-founder of WOW Skin Science, a vegan beauty brand. WOW Skin Science delivers high-performance, plant-powered solutions backed by science. The company features 100% vegan hair care, skincare, face, and body grooming essentials for your lifestyle.

“I think that many businesses will continue with remote working in 2021…”

The topic of returning to the office past the pandemic is heavy on every business owner’s mind right now. With COVID-19 cases still on the rise in California and no vaccine available, we are not making any big decisions regarding the future of our workplace environment. This is because the health and safety of our employees is our number one priority.

As the months go by, it is getting much easier to continue to work from our homes, which is raising many questions as to whether it makes sense to go back to the work environment we had before the pandemic.

My company has adjusted very smoothly to all of the sudden changes that have occurred due to COVID-19. As the situation currently stands, I don’t see my business going back to the work environment that existed prior to the pandemic. The pandemic taught me a lot and opened my eyes to new ideas. I am now able to recognize the benefits that remote workplaces offer, which pushes me towards establishing a hybrid of both remote and in-office work. I predict a lot of business owners making similar adjustments to their work environments in 2021.

Tarun Gurang

@consultifour

Tarun Gurang is a digital marketer at iFour Technolab Pvt. Ltd.

“One of the most interesting trends in remote work in 2021 will be the more widespread use of project management tools…”

Project management tools have always been available, but many people were not in the habit of using them. After all, you could just have face to face meetings or communicate via emails in the office.

But since WFH came into effect, we now rely on project management tools to show our work to team leaders, managers, and even clients. So, in my opinion, the biggest WFH trend of 2021 will be that project management tools continue to grow in impact and demand.

Emma Hong Guo

@OffsyteHQ

Emma is the co-founder and CEO of Offsyte, a marketplace for amazing, unique team offsites, both virtual and in-person.

“One of the most interesting trends we have noticed and will continue to see is virtual team building events…”

In the past, a lot of companies were used to in-person team offsites. They will come back but getting burned out and feeling less engaged is a real issue, especially during COVID-19.

So, we will see many companies and leaders start to seek virtual team building events to help their teams stay connected and keep morale high. At Offsyte, we have worked with many companies such as Google, Dropbox, Apple, and Tinder, to name a few, on unique virtual team building events, such as virtual ramen classes, mixology, online escape rooms, cyberspace races, and many more.

Medha Mehta

@sectigostore

Medha works as a content marketer at SectigoStore. She’s also a tech enthusiast and enjoys writing about technology, cybersecurity, and data protection. She completed her MBA at Minnesota State University and has 5+ years of experience in the marketing field.

“A slightly different, yet crucial, remote work trend I believe that we’ll see is more cybersecurity measures…”

Cybercrimes are growing rapidly in this pandemic as hackers are actively finding security loopholes in remote work culture. As a result, these are the trends you should expect to see in remote work in 2021:

  • There will be an increase in demand for antimalware and antivirus software

When an employee remotely accesses company data from their personal computer and they don’t have any robust antimalware or antivirus software installed, it is easy for attackers to exploit their devices. Hackers can insert malware to eavesdrop on a company’s confidential data, send phishing emails using the employee’s email client, or transfer the viruses to the company’s server via the employee’s devices. So, it’s likely that more companies will see the need for remote employees’ devices to be protected with robust antimalware and antivirus software.

  • Awareness of the importance of encryption will increase.

When an employee exchanges any confidential data online in plain text, hackers can easily intercept and steal it. In order to maintain confidentiality when transferring data, companies will need to start using encryption tools more extensively. Fortunately, there are many free and paid encryption tools available. I believe that in 2021, people will start to take encryption technology seriously and use it for data transfer on a more frequent basis.

  •      Use of authentication certificates will rise.

Authentication certificates are also known as client certificates, device certificates, personal authentication certificates, or user certificates. With them, employees can access their company’s resources only when they’re logged in from the devices where these certs are installed. So, even if hackers steal an employee’s credentials, they won’t be able to access anything on the company’s server. The reason is that the authentication is done via private keys, which are stored only on the employee’s official device and can’t be stolen or easily guessed.

Vipin Chahal

Vipin Chahal is the founder and CEO of Return Policy Guide. He has been an entrepreneur for the last seven years and has sold two businesses in that time. Vipin likes to strategize new means and ways to help his growth, both as an individual and as an entrepreneur. He also loves to follow football and watch anime movies.

“In 2021, remote working is going to be the ‘new normal’ even after the pandemic ends…”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to work remotely. There have been a lot of discussions about remote working and accepting it as the ‘new normal.’

The future has a lot of potential since we are going through a phase where a plethora of studies and research are currently being undertaken in a number of different fields. With the emergence of new technologies, remote working has benefited many business owners.

Some interesting trends I think we will see in remote work in 2021 will be:

  • The use of time tracking apps becoming more commonplace.
  • The use of communication tools becoming more frequent than ever.
  • Remote networking becoming the go-to thing to do.
  • The advent of new security and privacy tools.
  • Organization and collaboration tools taking the place of project managers in a somewhat limited manner.

Shiv Gupta

@incrementors

Shiv Gupta is the CEO of Incrementors Web Solutions, a digital marketing agency that provides a wide range of services, including SEO, web development, web design, e-commerce, UX design, SEM services, dedicated resource hiring, and digital marketing needs.

“The most interesting trend in remote work we will see in 2021 is more organic artificial intelligence…”

Artificial intelligence has already allowed companies to make more data-driven decisions. We should expect that AI will now do more than just crunch numbers and forecast sales.

AI won’t completely take over HR processes, but similar to automation, it will share an overlap. AI will complement automation and streamline existing processes to make them more efficient. It will also considerably decrease the time spent on administrative functions.

This will free up HR professionals’ time so they can be more of a human capital manager instead of a glorified clerk. Companies will also see AI as more of a type of employee assistance tool in the coming years.

Paris Sabo MD

@DrBriteNaturals

Dr. Paris Sabo is a breast cancer surgeon in Beverly Hills who co-founded Dr. Brite in 2015 with her sister, Dr. Pooneh Ramezani.

“Many companies in the U.S. are signaling a return to the office in 2021…”

For those that are in WFH mode, it is a welcome change to be able to have a social work-life again. But although many companies that are returning, others are continuing the current work from home model. They are doing so not only to be more cautious during a time that the COVID-19 numbers are increasing again but also because it is easier and more cost-effective for them to have their employees work remotely. This is especially true for offices with cramped cubicles and no facilities to implement social distancing practices.

At this time, with offices slowly opening, there have not been significant coronavirus outbreaks reported in big offices that have returned to on-site work. If COVID-19 protocols are followed as they are in grocery stores and essential businesses, offices can successfully open without being the epicenters of coronavirus outbreaks.

The outbreaks happen when people relax these protocols and get comfortable in their daily routines. You must make sure that the employee protection protocols set in place are non-negotiable. In other words, they are set in stone until this pandemic is over, and anyone who refuses to adapt and comply with what is required of them to keep their co-workers safe should not return to the office. Hopefully, they can effectively work from home. These are unprecedented times, so compromise is not an option.

Aqsa Tabassam

@aqsa9990

Aqsa Tabassam is a brand and marketing manager at Simpl Fulfillment, a logistics and supply chain company based in Austin, Texas. Simpl Fulfillment is a B2C business model working to make e-commerce order fulfillment more automated, modern, and affordable.

“We will see several new practices implemented with remote working in the coming year…”

Since the pandemic, people have been left with no choice but to work from their homes to practice social distancing. So far with remote working, new practices have emerged week-in, week-out, which are then adopted at different workplaces worldwide. For example, video conferencing for meetings became more and more widely adopted with time. Some new trends that are expected to take over remote working in the coming year are:

  1. Time tracking apps: One of the biggest concerns with remote working has been time management. People working at home may tend to other responsibilities that compromise their work deadlines, which may go unchecked or unnoticed. So, integrating time tracking apps into different types of workplaces will become more widespread.
  2. Communication tools: Most, but not all, businesses require constant communication to succeed. Workplaces that require teams to work together find communication to be their key asset. Communication tools like Zoom that make communication easier, as well as more secure and professional, will be increasingly used in the coming year.
  3. Use of privacy tools: When working remotely, it comes down to individuals to ensure the security of a company’s data. It’s therefore extremely important to keep passwords and shared files secure. The use of security tools like 1Password, which provides a place for users to store various passwords, software licenses, and other sensitive information in a virtual vault that is locked with a PBKDF2-guarded master password, will increase.

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a Forbes-featured international business mentor, social media expert, full-time traveler, and founder of The Wanderlover. Her mission is to inspire and help people design freedom-based lives through entrepreneurship.

“I’ve worked remotely for quite some time and have a few predictions of trends that will arise over the next few years…”

  1. Employee retention rates: It’s hard to predict if employee retention rates will improve or decline with remote work, but they will be different from when employees are hired for in-office work. Some employees are thrilled when they find a great job that allows them to work remotely and will stay with it for a long time. Others enjoy how easy it can be to hop from one position to the next as a remote worker and will take advantage of it.
  2. Increased freelance work: Companies that have never hired freelance workers will start exploring the benefits of hiring freelancers from around the world. Hiring freelancers can really save companies money and get quality work done, and I expect that companies (big and small) will explore it.
  3. Counseling resources: I hope this will become a remote working trend for 2021 and beyond. Remote working is tough, and it can cause employees to feel lonely, separated, and disconnected. Companies should be partnering with counseling apps and online platforms so they can offer their employees some valuable help when needed.

Reshu Rathi

@reshurathi

Reshu Rathi is a digital marketing manager at LambdaTest, a cross-browser testing platform. She has been in the internet marketing industry for nearly 11 years, specializing in content and product marketing. Reshu provides thought leadership for a variety of global publications.

“The most interesting trend in remote work in 2021 will be that companies will enforce fixed office hours again…”

We all know that remote working hours extend beyond regular working hours. This happens because most people cannot draw a line between their personal and professional time while working remotely.

But this won’t happen in 2021. Why? Because employers will realize that it isn’t a good practice as it can harm their employees’ physical and mental health in the long run. To avoid employee burnout, most companies will enforce fixed working hours again with little flexibility.

Johanna-Mai Riisma

@zelos_app

For over a decade, Johanna-Mai Riisma has been passionate about helping teams to work efficiently. Her top expertise is team spirit, shown by her experience mobilizing teams with over 400 members. She co-founded Zelos, a task manager that makes collaboration easier by breaking down big projects into bite-sized gigs.

“I think we’ll see more task fragmentation as we try to work more efficiently with less in-person interactions…”

Every task might be smaller, and project progress reports will become more complex as we will try to spend less time in Zoom meetings, which consume a lot of team energy. My advice would be to:

  • Keep things simple for everyone by listing tasks and expectations clearly.
  • Have a great project tracking system.
  • Only stage meetings with clear purposes.

Omair Khan

@canary9401

Omair Khan is an outreach consultant at Gigworker.

“There are a number of current remote working trends that will continue into 2021…”

The pandemic has moved all of us to a remote working environment. It’s pretty clear that the remote working trend is here to stay for a while. It’s worth noting that research has found that if employees had a choice, 99 percent of them would choose to work remotely for the rest of their careers.

Here are some trend predictions I believe that we’ll see in 2021:

  1. More remote workdays: One trend that may come up in 2021 is that companies may allow employees to take multiple remote workdays in a week. That is, employees can choose to work from home multiple days a week instead of coming to the office. This will allow them to have more flexible schedules and will assist employers in boosting employee morale and loyalty.
  2. Time management tools: Time and productivity management tools will become more commonplace in offices. These are software and tools that allow employees to keep track of the amount of work they’re doing and how long it takes. By tracking employees’ work, they allow employers to know how well people are working while at home and determine if time is being utilized efficiently.
  3. Video conferencing: Another trend that may come up in 2021 is the rise of video calls over traditional meetings. This is because it saves time on traveling to meeting areas and allows different team members to be present and communicate with one another without the need to commute to physical office locations.

Ian Kelly

@NuLeafNaturals

Ian Kelly is the VP of Operations at NuLeaf Naturals.

“As a result of the massive exodus from office life to working from home life, I think companies in 2021 will…” 

Be more prepared to dive into WFH if needed as part of a disaster response plan. Rather than scrambling to adapt, there will be policies and procedures in place to facilitate remote work a lot more efficiently and effectively. The period between the crisis and the implementation of the plan will be shorter, too.

At the end of the day, all companies will need to have some kind of remote work option, and I think that more employees will feel empowered to use that option if it works for them.

Sean Nguyen

@internetchoice3

Sean runs Internet Advisor because he believes everyone should be aware of every service provider option in their area. He is an avid gamer and takes internet speed a little too seriously.

“One of the major trends I am predicting is quarantining with co-workers…”

Groups have already started doing it here and there, but it will catch on for sure. Think about young offices with single 20-year-olds who are all friends, probably live alone, and don’t have families yet. They miss the office and their coworkers and hate being alone all the time.

Why wouldn’t they all move into the same space? Then, they’d be able to work together in the same kind of environment they were missing but without putting each other in danger. It’s genius and a great way to make quarantine more fun.

I also think companies will be forced to start offering more flexible hours. Since everyone’s been doing this for a while, it makes no sense to keep a 9 to 5 schedule. So, companies might as well work with people’s schedules and around their lives. I think it’ll be a step in the right direction to create a better work-life balance.

Diane Danielson

@DianeDanielson

Diane Danielson is a strategic advisor and fractional CMO and COO for startup and growth companies based in the Portland, Maine area. She is also the founder of the Future Proof Research Collaborative, which brings together senior level consultants interested in building a future-proof economy and ecosystem.

“An interesting trend we may see this year is more  formalized technology subsidies…”

As we are finding out with COVID-19, not all broadband is created equally. There are disparities not just in rural areas but also in some of our underserved communities in major urban areas. As people are buying up safe havens in remote areas (for example, Maine real estate is up 30% over last year in rural areas), the first question is internet access. Add to this the multiple users per household at one time.

This brings up the issue that if people are going to work from home, they need to have appropriate broadband access, equipment, and cybersecurity. So, formalized technology subsidies may need to be involved.

Adam Rowles

@rowlzey

Adam Rowles is the founder and CEO of Inbound Marketing Agency, Australia.

“There are numerous interesting trends in remote work we’ll see in 2021…”

  1. Flexible working hours: Yes, the best thing about working from home is flexible working hours. But this also depends on the type of job you are doing. Some jobs demand that employees are logged in during specific hours.
  2. Data-driven decisions: Meetings will be short, and decisions will depend on the automated results. This will be a time saver and a win-win.
  3. On-site working hours: If your job demands on-site work, it will still be available on some specific days only.
  4. Improved cybersecurity: Remote work demands safety from malware, hacks, and cyberattacks of all kinds. Employees will either be trained or equipped with improved cybersecurity tools.
  5. The rise of digital nomads: Yes, people will earn while traveling. They will be sitting in a cafe or a co-working space and working, as well. So, the Golden Era of Digital Nomads has begun!
  6. Time tracking: Remote workers are prone to working longer or more hours. Why? It is difficult to draw the line between personal and professional time when you are working from home. So, time tracking and management software will come to the rescue.

Phil Santoro

@wilburlabs

Phil Santoro is a co-founder of Wilbur Labs, a San Francisco-based startup studio. Wilbur Labs identifies big customer pain points and builds businesses to solve these problems. Since 2016, the startup studio has built and invested in 13 technology companies, including VacationRenter, Vitabox, Joblist, and Barkbus, and plans to launch several new companies over the next year. 

“There are two remote work trends that I see forming in 2021…”

 While Wilbur Labs has had an HQ in San Francisco since 2016, at least half of our teams have been distributed. With an objective to hire the best people to solve problems across various industries, we recognize that many of these people don’t all live in the same city, which is why we have always supported distributed teams.

Although we have been 100% remote since March of last year due to COVID-19, we gave our employees the option to work remotely even before the global pandemic was announced. Despite a personal belief that most of the remote interest will die down, I do think there will be a significant percentage that sticks.

The big positive recently has been the change in perception regarding remote work. Previously, if an employee wanted to work remotely, they couldn’t, because employers didn’t allow it. With this current norm, more employers will allow remote work, and everyone will have more options to work remotely if that’s best for them.

While I recognize the productivity and culture boost that comes from being in-person, I believe going forward that companies will need to continue focusing on both remote and in-person employees. The two remote work trends that I see forming in 2021 are:

  1. Remote first offices

Offices are far from dead—but they will need to adapt to support remote teams. It’s fairly easy to build a conference room that works for people on-site. But designing a conference room optimized for people on the other side of the screen is much more challenging.

For example, you need to consider webcam placement (for example, placing the webcams at eye level), so that those dialing in remotely have a seat at the table. You also need to install a dynamic microphone system and building material that can absorb echoes, among other considerations. All of this is easier said than done, but it goes a long way in making remote employees feel more part of the team.

Offices also need to be easily accessible when remote teams come on-site for all-hands or other meetings. This means plenty of hotel desks and a cloud-based office entry system so employees have physical access to the office before their first visit. Going forward, I expect that more companies will adjust their office space to better support both local employees and remote teams.

2. Supporting employees everywhere

In an office setting, equipment and IT support are usually an afterthought for most employees. When working remotely, employees will need to manage both. From troubleshooting internet issues, workstation peripherals, and computer issues, the added work can take away valuable time. Businesses that don’t support their employees’ equipment remotely can end up increasing workforce stress and reducing productivity.

To solve this, businesses can adapt to this by supporting teams with work from home needs. For example, at Wilbur Labs, we provide our employees with all of the equipment needed to work productively. We give everyone a $1,000 workstation stipend, then IT works with employees to plan and order the equipment that works best for them. This varies by person and results in a lot more one-on-one support than IT typically provided.

By taking on more upfront work and investment, we were able to ensure everyone working remotely could do so in the most efficient and productive way possible.

Historically, IT teams haven’t prioritized helping employees work from home. This is starting to change and will continue to change into the coming year as companies realize that without proper support, productivity and employee quality of life will drop.

Stefanie Siclot

@growthrocket

Stefanie Siclot is the lead outreach specialist at Growth Rocket.

“One interesting trend that I see is app developers trying to work out ways to enhance employee bonding…”Company culture is one of HR’s top priorities, so I think app developers will try to add games into video conferencing apps to allow employees to engage with each other.

While there are numerous game apps available, having games built into video conferencing apps would be easier for employees to use since they would already be on their laptops, and there would be no need to download a new app just to access a game.

Milosz Krasinski

@MiloszKrasinski

Milosz Krasinski is the Managing Director at a web consulting company, Chillifruit.com.

“There are three main trends that I think will emerge in remote work in 2021…”

Earlier this year, a lot of major companies were talking about bringing employees back to the workplace by this month—presumably under the assumption that COVID-19 would have packed its bags and moved on by now. Sadly, that’s very much not the case, and now a lot of these companies are frantically reviewing these plans. Personally, I think that a lot of people will still be working remotely well into 2021. The trends that I see emerging are:

  1. A surge in the use of time-tracking apps: As home working becomes the new normal, employers will want to ensure that employees are not, for want of a better word, ‘skiving.’ This means that a lot of companies will be investing in time tracking software like Toggl and Clockify to keep their workforces on track.
  2. Privacy and security tools: With employees working remotely, businesses will need to up their game when it comes to keeping networks and data safe. A lot of them will therefore be in the market for more advanced security software.
  3. Communication tools: Zoom has been big news for businesses in 2020—often with hilarious results as personnel have struggled to come to grips with it. As people settle into remote working for the long haul, companies will be relying more on good communication tools and making sure that employees are trained to use them effectively.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m aware that someone, somewhere, is no doubt working on something new and innovative in terms of remote working, and we’re just going to have to wait to see what that may be.

Salina Yeung

@SalinaYeung

Salina previously worked at LinkedIn for more than two years and is now the CEO and founder of LinkedIn-Pro. LinkedIn-Pro is a platform and destination for people to find out anything, including tips, hacks, tricks, and updates, about LinkedIn and B2B marketing.

“I think it will be interesting to see if most companies choose to…”

Pay rent for a big office or instead leverage this money for their employees to have even greater efficiency working at home or remotely.

Looking back on 2020, most employees have now been working from home for more than six months and are still delivering great results with no issues. So, will we still need a big office that can host everyone, have a pantry, have snacks and lunch provided, etc. (like LinkedIn used to do)? Or will companies switch to using a desk environment, where employees who need to use the space can register a space before coming in?

Big, fancy offices can be eliminated, and that money can be spent elsewhere or distributed back to employees to upgrade their home office or supplement their rent, allowing them to have a bigger space or a room purely for work.

Brett Atwood

@WSUPullman

Brett Atwood is the director of the Integrated Strategic Communication at Everett (ISC) program and an associate professor at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (WSU).

“Employers will look for greater opportunities to replicate the sense of office camaraderie and collaboration via…”

Increased use of shared workspaces that better aim to replicate a sense of presence and spatial relationships. For example, Microsoft Teams recently introduced the ‘Together’ mode to bring video call participants into shared virtual spaces that are more akin to what you’d find in the physical space, such as an auditorium, meeting room, or coffee bar. Another emerging platform, High Fidelity, focuses exclusively on audio-only virtual gathering spaces with an emphasis on spatial audio that makes the participant feel as if they are in the same room as the other participants.

Virtual worlds, like Second Life, were once written off for enterprise use. But they are also finding a niche for organizations that want to bring some fun and personality into meetings as a way to combat Zoom fatigue. Numerous upstart virtual worlds are going after this niche, including Sinespace and Laval Virtual—all of which support voice and text chat in avatar-populated 3D environments.

Wayne Turmel

@LeadingRemotely

Wayne Turmel is the co-founder of the Remote Leadership Institute and author of a dozen books, including The Long-Distance Leader-Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership and The Long-Distance Teammate. He’s been working with virtual teams and their leaders for 15 years.

“If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that everybody’s crystal ball has a few cracks in it…”

From our conversations with dozens of customers around the world, though, we are seeing some trends that seem to offer a clue into what the beginning of 2021 will look like.

The biggest thing is that there will be very little consensus about what the new normal will be. Each company, office, and worker will be doing what works best for them. Companies in the same office buildings will be working on different schedules, with more people in the office less, even when legal strictures relax.

The remote work genie is out of the bottle, and while many people can’t wait to regain the social components of their job, there will be a rise in those working remotely at least part-time. Teams that were primarily co-located with a few remote members (what we call hybrid teams) will be more hybrid, and the default thinking will no longer be what’s best just for the folks in the office.

An example is that there will be fewer meetings with people in the conference room and people dialing in from elsewhere. Many of these meetings will be done virtually so that everyone can participate equally, and there will be a more level playing field. People in the office will be expected to use webcams, and it will create less of an us vs. them between co-located members and those who work remotely.

Marie Buharin

Marie Buharin has been a full-time hiring manager in the medical device industry for 10+ years. She is also the founder of Modernesse, which provides career development and personal development resources. She has been featured in Medium, FairyGodBoss, Career Beacon, and UpJourney.

“The most interesting trend in 2021 will be how willing employees will be to return to 100% in-person work, and how employers will react…”

This will determine the future of remote work as a standard benefit provided.

Currently, the majority of office employees continue to work from home out of necessity due to the pandemic. But many employers have begun to recognize that remote work can be as productive as in-person work, as we have seen many employers completely rebound since the disruption to our lives started.

Many employees have become accustomed to working remotely, with many more preferring it to their previous lives of long commutes and long hours in their cubicles.

The future of remote work as a standard way of working will be determined by how employees handle the transition back and whether employers will be flexible in allowing some amount of remote work to continue indefinitely.

I believe they will, which will change the way we all work forever. We will finally leverage telepresence technology to improve our quality of life as employees.

Reuben Yonatan

@getvoipreviews

Reuben Yonatan is the Founder and CEO of GetVoIP.

“The most interesting trend in remote work in 2021 will be an asynchronous workforce…”

That means a workforce that no longer holds tight to the traditional 9-to-5 concept of work. Instead, it will be up to the employees to complete their work whenever they please, as long they meet the deadline.

While a lot of employers have already realized the benefits of an asynchronous workforce, most still believe that employees can only achieve productivity if they work from morning to evening. In reality, this mentality holds a remote company back because employees will not be motivated to accomplish more than what they can fit in those eight hours.

By 2021, employers will have enough experience with remote workforces to loosen the reigns and experiment with an asynchronous workforce.

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