In case there’s any doubt, some statistics on the state of remote work in the U.S. should clear things up. According to the Upwork Future Workforce Pulse Report, “The number of remote workers in the next five years is expected to be double what it was before COVID-19.” What’s more, the report states, more than 36 million Americans will work remotely by the year 2025.
Clearly, remote work is here to stay. But what does the future of remote work look like?
A different approach to recruitment
While hiring remote workers is often similar to traditional recruitment methods, a different approach may be more effective for some employers. Keep these recruitment tips in mind:
- Boost your employer brand and profile, with consistent, upbeat messaging across all channels and platforms.
- Beef up social media activity emphasizing the importance of remote employee-focused policies and events.
- Craft job postings that stress high levels of digital communications abilities.
- Emphasize the supportive remote-worker policies in your company culture.
- Incorporate more conference calls and video chats as part of the interview process.
Finally, as we have noted before, consider offering a (paid) “trial assignment” to a promising job candidate: “With a deadline of several days or a week, the results of this assignment will offer keen insights into how well the applicant works under deadline and whether the results are up to your company standards.”
Improved onboarding and training
Onboarding methods that focus on in-house employees aren’t necessarily the same when applied to remote workers. Businesses face ongoing challenges to incorporate these workers as they first join the organization. Look for changes like the following:
- Crafting an all-encompassing approach to virtual onboarding
- Providing veteran employees to serve as mentors to new hires
- Launching state-of-the-art communications channels
According to LinkedIn, “Remote onboarding practices will evolve to ensure that new employees feel supported, connected, and equipped to contribute to their teams' success.”
A need for deeper engagement
Businesses across the U.S. and around the world, responding to the anticipated expansion of remote work, will strive to find new ways to engage off-site employees.
Keeping those workers motivated and appreciated “requires frequent meetings to discuss the value of each team member and the team as a whole,” says Carol Elassad, Business Owner at Webbe Consulting Group. Furthermore, communications between managers and remote employees “should be consistent, contain SMART goals, active listening” and stronger bonding efforts between off- and on-site workers.
Remote employees who feel unvalued or disengaged always have the option to seek employment elsewhere.
Anticipate likely trends
As with other aspects concerning the future of business, it’s important to research and anticipate the ways in which remote work is likely to evolve in the coming years.
According to the HR Digest, these likely trends include (a) increased number of employees who choose the remote work option; and (b) more sophisticated hybrid work models, offering greater flexibility between on-site and off-site work. In addition, business leaders “will need to find ways to create a shared sense of purpose and identity among employees who may never meet face-to-face.”
Greater investment in technology
As noted, technology will keep pace with changing remote work trends, providing more collaborative and interactive tools for staying in touch. Tools likely include:
- File-sharing platforms based in the cloud
- Video conferencing for virtual meetings
- The use of advanced project management software
Businesses will “need to adapt their management styles and communication methods to cater to a distributed workforce,” notes Forbes.
Remote work is now a fact of life. How well businesses leverage this HR function will be key to determining future success in the marketplace.
Want to learn more about engaging employees both on-site and off-site? Register for our free TAB Webinar, “Employee Motivation that Works.”