Future of work
5 min read

What will the future of remote working look like?

The past couple of years have felt like some kind of crazy experiment. Workers worldwide were suddenly sitting at the dinner table trying to work as if they were in the office. Just 16% of workers were operating remote working in September 2020. By June 2021, 30% of workers were expecting to work remotely permanently, with another 42% expecting to work with some form of hybrid working model.

Skip forward to June 2022, and the working landscape has shifted again. Experts now believe that 25% of all work in North America will be performed remotely by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, hybrid work models are also picking up pace, with 42% of workers in the UK splitting their work between home and the office.

With the way we work changing so rapidly, it’s tough to see what comes next. So, what should we expect to see going forward? Will remote working die out? Is hybrid work the future? Let’s find out.

The future of remote working

Manage Demand

The pandemic hit us at an interesting time. Many workers were already at their limit and were desperately looking for a breath of fresh air. They felt overworked and undervalued and struggled to find a healthy work-life balance. Then everything changed. We were all stuck at home with plenty of time to reevaluate what was important to us.

Once we started to emerge from lockdowns, businesses were shocked by the new challenges they faced.

Workers discovered that remote work offered a far better work experience than traditional office settings. They wanted flexibility and weren’t afraid to look elsewhere if their employer couldn’t — or wouldn’t — provide it. This led to what some call “The Great Resignation,” which saw 4.4 million workers leave their jobs at its peak.

For employers, this was a terrifying wake-up call. The message was clear: do better, or lose your workers.

Some businesses have chosen to adopt remote work as their primary way of working. This offers a wide range of benefits for both parties. Employers no longer need to lease expensive office space, while employees no longer have to deal with costly and often stressful daily commutes.

A few key concerns about remote work from CEOs and other higher-ups are culture and productivity. They worry that it can be challenging to facilitate collaboration without the traditional office setting, which often results in lower quality and quantity of work. This, combined with the physical distance between employees, has some worried that remote work will entirely wipe out company culture.

However, the pandemic taught us that these worries are generally unfounded. Studies have shown that, on average, those working from home are 47% more productive than they were in the office. Meanwhile, some are finding that company culture isn’t formed around a building. It’s formed around people. Joanna Swash, CEO of Moneypenny, went on record with The Guardian to share her experience.

“Before Covid-19 I thought we’ve got amazing offices, and that they are this space that everybody loves… What I learned was that our culture was so strong that it wasn’t just based on the office or on the physical environment, but it was based on that whole community feel, and how people trust each other. It should have been obvious to me, but that was a really big lesson at the start of the pandemic.”

Joanna Swash, CEO of Moneypenny

With this in mind, it’s clear why remote working is here to stay.

But not everyone will be fully remote. Some businesses are using hybrid work models to compromise between management’s desire to have their employees in the office and employees’ desire for flexibility.

There are concerns on both sides when it comes to fully remote work. Not every employee wants to work from home. Even if their employer offers the chance to work remotely full time, some will always choose to stay in the office. This has caused some employees to worry about biases forming between management and those working in the office.

A LinkedIn survey found 39% of employees said they were worried that working from home may negatively impact their career due to a lack of face-time with their bosses. This concern is reinforced by a third of employees believing that being in the office is the best way to progress in their career.

With 86% of UK businesses planning to offer greater flexibility to their employees, we expect hybrid work models to win the battle between fully remote working and returning to the office.

How technology is changing remote working

System Intergrators

The tech we used at the beginning of the pandemic was, at best, basic. Sure, the infrastructure was there to help us adapt to remote working, but it often caused more problems than it solved.

Thankfully, the technology quickly caught up to our needs. Video conferencing software is more reliable and intuitive than ever. The cloud has helped people collaborate easily, and automation has helped us spend less time doing time-consuming, resource-draining work.

In the next couple of years, we expect to see significant advances in the technology we use for remote working. We’re seeing the emergence of VR meeting rooms, AI-powered assistants to manage daily work tasks like clocking in, and platforms dedicated to making the office run as smoothly as possible while half the staff is working remotely.

The future of work is powered by tech

Scalable Robust Secure

Ultimately, we’re still a long way, if ever, from 100% remote work. The future of work is uncertain as our world continues to evolve. Even hybrid work models are under intense scrutiny as companies like Tesla introduce firm return-to-office strategies.

One thing is certain. We need the right technology to tackle these changes as smooth as possible.

Smartway2 Logo 2021

Smartway2 helps companies provide a great workplace experience for their employees by removing the friction of hybrid work when shielding time in the office and booking desks and rooms.

It also provides the data and analytics so you know how spaces are being used and how your return to office and hybrid policies are working out, and can be used to monitor trends and adapt to better ways of flexible working.

Irvin Gray

Irvin Gray

Irvin Gray is Head of Marketing at Smartway2 part of Hubstar, and has over 20 years of experience in Saas technology building and growing market-leading brands. Irvin writes about the future of work and trends in hybrid working and space management.
Last updated June 27, 2022