A recent study shows that the number of job listings globally with a remote component has nearly tripled since 2020 – from an average of 2.5% in January 2020 to almost 8% in April 2021, settling out to 7.5% in September 2021 as lockdown eased.
We shouldn’t be surprised. The recent pandemic was always going to be a catalyst for fast-paced change, and when it comes to remote working trends for 2022 and 2023 you can be sure that remote and hybrid working models will only become more commonly adopted.
Are you on top of the latest remote working trends? Do you know what the future of remote work looks set to bring? In this article, we’ll look at 2022 and 2023’s workforce trends when it comes to remote working to get you ahead of the game.
How effective has remote working been?
First, let’s consider how effective remote working has been. There’s no doubt that post-pandemic, remote working is unequivocally here to stay, but it’s also proving to be productive, too.
The sudden pandemic-necessitated revolution (rather than evolution) may have caught many employers off-guard – but the enforced pivot has created an environment in which employers now know that remote working productivity can be very high. With a YouGov poll citing that 57% of employees want to be able to work from home, it’s becoming a critical factor in a company’s hiring package.
What does remote working look like today?
With 25% of all professional jobs in North America likely to be remote from next year, it’s time to embrace remote working trends and make them work for you and your organization.
Although some employers remain resistant, the tide is slowly turning and those still looking to ‘return to normal’ are having to admit – there is a post-COVID-19 ‘new normal’ – and there are so many positives of remote working that businesses will stand to gain from.
Remote working trends for 2023 and beyond
Here are the nine emerging remote working trends for 2023 and beyond that we’re hearing organizations talk about regularly.
Trend 1. The capacity to remote work is now expected
That’s right. No longer is your flexible or remote working capacity a true USP to your job offer. Where pre-pandemic a geographically flexible job role could have been listed as part of the job’s real bonuses, employees now see this as expected.
Since the pandemic, more than 80% of workers who had to work from home due to coronavirus say that they now plan to hybrid work, and from Feb to May 2022, the proportion of those hybrid working rose from 13% to 24%. Indeed, global recruitment firm Robert Half found that a staggering 50% of professionals who began working from home would resign if they were made to return to the office full time.
Remember that regardless of your organization’s business or product, people are your USP. Your employees are the people who sell the company, who shape its future, and who take it forward, step by step, day by day.
Attracting and retaining that top talent, then, is key to your business’ success – and remote work creates an atmosphere of trust and future-forward thinking. 35% of employees would change jobs if they could work remotely full-time – so remember that not offering any sort of remote working or hybrid working facility will be a shot in the foot to your recruitment process.
But you can’t expect a hearty clap on the back, or even to be able to offer your job at a lower-than-competitive income, just because you offer the capacity for remote working. See it as an added string to your bow keeping you up to date with your competitors, rather than a step ahead of industry peers.
Trend 2. Remote working productivity remains high
Most workers commute. This remains unchanged. But pre-pandemic, this survey illustrates that only 5.6% of workers worked from home, whereas in 2022 the survey found that 15% now worked from home. 75% commuted less than 10 miles to work, and 4% were commuting over 40 miles to work pre-pandemic.
The 94% of workers facing a commute before, then, have had a chance to rethink, and many commuters are now keen to look for a hybrid work solution, where they work at least some days from home. The 10% of employees who have changed up their commute for home working have reaped the reward of their commuting time – as well as being an astonishing 47% more productive than those working in an office environment.
This study found that, on average, home workers spend 30 more minutes doing exercise than office-based peers, save five hours a week in commute time, and have almost £50 extra in their pocket which they aren’t spending on commuting or office lunch. The benefits are there and many employees want to reap them.
The shining light of those benefits reflects a benevolent glow onto your firm, too, because indirectly you’ve saved your employee both time and money by letting them remote work – without actually having to give them anything material.
Trend 3. Remote opportunities continue to grow
Once, employees might say ‘I have to be in New York, it’s the only place for my industry’, or ‘I can’t work anywhere but London’. This is becoming less and less the case. Whilst some industries are geographically and socio-economically bound (this study found that less than 1 in 20 workers earning under £20,000 in the UK have the option to work from home, and some industries – 67% of construction companies and 72% of healthcare providers – do not allow, or do not have the capacity to allow, remote working at all), many have been unmuzzled by the potentiality of remote and hybrid working.
Hire remote workers, after all, and you can hire from a pool of the best in the world – not just the best within commuting distance from your head office.
Trend 4. More competition, more opportunity
Of course, the previous point leads on to the fact that employees also have a world of opportunity at their fingertips. No longer do they have to search for the best job in their nearest town or city – they can search for their ideal job, anywhere.
The potential of hiring from anywhere in the world creates an amazing pool from which an employer can choose – and from which the best employees can pick. Competition works both ways, which is bringing both employees’ and employers’ standards up across the board.
Companies have to be at the top of their game in terms of company culture and benefits, etc, to reel in those high-profile employees.
Trend 5. A societal shift more broadly
A trend from remote working that is likely to impact everybody, everywhere, is the fact that these high-profile employees are no longer bound to live in the world’s largest cities to find the world’s most competitive jobs. Employees can take their skillset (as well as their income) to the country’s smaller towns and rural areas, bringing wealth into regions which historically have had less.
Another remote working trend we’re expecting to see is that employees might love their job more! Where it was so much a part of office culture to be ‘living for the weekend’, the integration of work and life that remote working necessitates at least to some degree means that employees are literally ‘taking the work home’.
This Tracking Happiness study found that employees who worked from home were a massive 20% happier, on average. Employee wellbeing increased by 3% by every day the employee worked remotely. Hopefully we will see a rise in job satisfaction and happiness generally as the remote working culture becomes more and more the norm.
Trend 6. Higher investment in corporate cybersecurity
Remote working cybersecurity is going to become more and more of a priority for organizations. When confidential information has to be accessible for remote work, a little more thought has to go into who can access what, where, and how.
As well as supply chain attacks and AI-based spear fishing, hybrid or remote working is a significant threat to data security, keeping the cyber threat landscape significant for business owners. SoSafe states that more than 85% of cyber-attacks are initiated with a human factor; the human-machine interface is a really easy entry point. That’s because it’s easy to exploit employees through emotional manipulation and social engineering.
Here’s a list of just some of the eye-watering, terrifying cyber-security stats compiled by Varonis.com:
- The worldwide information security market is forecast to reach $366.1 billion in 2028. (Fortune Business Insights).
- The U.S. was the target of 46% of cyberattacks in 2020, more than double any other country. (Microsoft)
- On average, only 5% of companies’ folders are properly protected. (Varonis)
- 54% of companies say their IT departments are not sophisticated enough to handle advanced cyberattacks. (Sophos)
- Cyber fatigue, or apathy to proactively defending against cyberattacks, affects as much as 42% of companies. (Cisco)
- 43% of all breaches are insider threats, either intentional or unintentional. (Check Point)
- Data breaches exposed 22 billion records in 2021. (RiskBased Security)
To improve your cyber security and create resilience, ensure five cybersecurity priorities are in place:
- Multi-factor authentication.
- Applying ‘least privilege’ access.
- Keep versions of software up-to-date.
- Always utilize anti-malware.
- Protect all company data.
Trend 7. Hiring strategy is more important than ever
How do you hire? An ad in the local paper was the go-to a decade or two ago. That seems laughable, but does your strategy really amount to more than a digital version of a newspaper ad?
Does that strategy go belly up when you want to expand the job offer to a global playing field?
A key remote working trend is going to be an investment in hiring protocols, enabling companies to broaden the geographical nets that they cast. How will you make sure you’re casting your net internationally, but not catching the tiddlers as well as the tuna?
You need sophisticated systems in place to appeal to the correct market sector and the top candidates within that. You’ll also have to comply with a country’s often unique employment laws.
Trend 8. Creating an iron-clad remote working policy
Why would you not want to mitigate any risks remote working entails before they arise?
To capitalise on remote working trends and to enable work from home to be possible, and productive, employers are creating remote working policies. These outline expectations and protocols. Risks such as changing tax jurisdictions, permanent establishment, and immigration issues can all be a massive headache which could have been averted with a remote working policy. Such a policy ensures you’re not exposing yourself, or your employees, to unnecessary risk.
What’s more, with the popularity of remote work, the likelihood is that your workforce is likely to become more and more remote. With a policy in place, this becomes feasible and scalable. Employees will have plenty of questions when it comes to remote working, and there’s no reason management should have to repeat them each time. Answer all of their questions – and the ones they haven’t thought of yet – preemptively, in a policy.
A policy also helps you work towards your business goals as regards to remote working. Are you clear that you’d like staff to be in the office regularly, or are you looking to transition to becoming a completely remote company? A policy helps you work towards those goals and sets expectations in place for employees.
It’s hard to take this new level of informality into the workplace – combining your ‘downtime’ space and work has been a difficult transition for some, and there need to be some new ‘norms’ put into place. 89% of companies have already introduced a remote work policy (or are currently considering one), according to this KPMG report, illustrating that the vast majority are committed to a future working environment in which remote working is a key factor.
Trend 9. Increased knowledge around employee tax and legalities
Global workforces are still bound by their own country’s jurisdiction, and if you’re hiring within that market, the country’s legal issues are something you need to be abreast of pre-hire.
Will your approach to global hire be ethnocentric (hiring employees from your organization’s home country who want to relocate to a new location), polycentric (hiring locals to fill roles on the ground in that country), regiocentric (hiring or transferring employees within the same region, for example having a Scandinavia team) or geocentric (hiring the best people, regardless of their location)? Geocentric hiring is the only hiring policy which truly and openly necessitates remote working.
Whilst global hiring sounds like the dream, corporations have found it can be fraught with complexity when it comes to taxation. Legalities are another hurdle. In the Czech Republic, for example, the status of remote work itself is unsure. Clarification on these matters is likely to become necessary for any companies looking to hire on the global stage.
Whilst an overarching accountancy plan can tackle global taxation requirements, it can be priceless to employ someone with a ‘foot on the ground’ there, as they will likely know the resources, and contexts, which you’ll need to explore during the hiring process.
There are even the different cultural nuances of hiring to be mindful of, from the Swedish daily practice of “fika” (a proper break from work for a tea or coffee and cake, and a chat with a friend), to the different Israeli workweek (Sunday to Thursday, to allow the many Jewish members of the population to more easily observe Shabbat on a Friday).
Thanks to the positives of remote and hybrid working it looks very much like it’s here to stay, and the appetite for it seems indefatigable for many employers and employees! To read more about the interplay of remote work and human resources, read our archive of articles here, where we discuss everything from ‘hiring from anywhere’ to this webinar on cracking the code for successful leadership of remote teams.