How would you like to work in 2021?

A few decades ago, having a job that required you to work from home was a rarity. However, with technology companies popping up left and right, employees are given more opportunities to work remotely. Between 2005-2015 alone, this number increased to a whopping 115%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Data on Leading Telecommuting Job Industries in 2017. As the global pandemic made working from home more of a need than a choice, should the trend continue in 2021?

Employees want more out of a job than just a paycheck. They want flexibility, want to work anytime, anywhere, and fade away the 9-5 grind. According to a LinkedIn poll conducted by NLB Services, employees were asked about their working preferences and 53% of respondents are happy working remotely full time. As we enter 2021, more and more values and norms will shift with technology & work will be a lot more collaborative and digital.  

That said, remote work is not for every organization, at least not yet. Out of the nearly 600 people who participated in the poll globally, 25% preferred shuttling between office and homes. The opportunities for remote work are mostly determined by the daily tasks and activities that employees engage in and not broadly their occupations. An analysis of remote work by McKinsey details that finance and insurance sectors have the highest potential, with three-quarters of time spent on activities that can be done remotely without a loss of productivity followed by management, professional services and IT industries.

In an age, when ingenuity is a competitive advantage, shouldn’t organizations allow people to work where the inspiration lies? However, Gallup, a US management consultant firm highlights that employees who do not work in the same location as their manager are 10 percentage points less likely to say someone cares about them at work & 10 points less likely to say they are recognized for their contributions. 

As an organization, the key is recognizing that a productive environment means different things to different people. If your business is toying with the idea of churning out a remote work environment, below are the top 3 things you need to assess before you jump into the pool of working at home:

  • Making sure you are equipped with the technology that promotes real-time collaboration and look at automating routine tasks. 
  • Establish regular team huddles so managers know how their subordinates are faring and employees are aware of what is happening in the company. 
  • Creating a culture of constant learning and development and other recreational activities to keep the workforce up to date with the latest industry trends and motivated. 

With the world opening to different preferences, organizations need to assess what works and what does not for their teams to maximize productivity and retention. That is why each company needs to be customized to its employee base: choice for the individual is not an indulgence but one of successful organizations being recognized by their customers.

About the Author
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Dheeraj Modi

VP and Global HR Head, NLB Services


/ Dheeraj Modi