Remote Work Trends – 2022
As technology has been advancing in recent years, we have seen a rise in remote work job offerings, and while that was a privilege that only some could enjoy, the COVID-19 pandemic made sure that this was about to change.
Amongst dozens of new trends, in this article, we focused to bring you only those we deemed to be most noteworthy. Below we have listed five significant remote work trends in 2022 that you need to be aware of!
1. Acceptance of remote work is rising
While remote work, because of necessity, boomed and reached the highest peak in the pandemic, now after we are back at normal life, a lot of societal shifts that happened in the meantime are nowhere to go.
According to a study by Pew research, 78% of those who were working from home all or most of the time preferred to continue to do so after the pandemic, that is a 14% increase from two years ago in 2020.
While earlier 64% worked remotely out of necessity and 36% by choice, now it is the opposite; 61% of workers do so by choice and 38% by necessity.
Although the demand is high, most of the companies cannot operate fully remotely. That’s why a common model that now is trending is hybrid work.
Gallup estimates that hybrid work in the US will increase to 55% until the end of 2022 compared to 42% in February.
This transformation has extended so far that it is now a deal-breaker for employees. Three in 10 hybrid employees are "extremely likely to change companies" if not offered remote flexibility.
2. Remote work efficiency
Given the growing trend of remote employment, the immediate concern that may arise is productivity. Do we risk being less productive if we operate from home rather than an office because of potential family distractions?
Recent research has demonstrated that is not the case, and one could even make the reverse point.
In a study of 10,000 workers conducted by the University of Chicago's Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, respondents reported they believed working from home was equally productive to working in an office.
In fact, 30% of them said they were more productive working remotely.
Another Mercer research, which polled 800 businesses, found that 94% of employers stated that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with workers doing their work from home.
A widespread misconception that has been disproved is the notion that if employees are not present, they are not working.
A lot of studies show that with the amount of hours saved from commuting every day, employees have been able to put more hours to work, and at the same time have a work-life balance.
According to a report from Owl labs from 2021, 55% of respondents said they spent more time working remotely than they did in an actual office.
3. Mental health and well-being becoming a primary concern
Now more than ever, particularly in light of the pandemic's demise, employees and businesses alike are placing a higher focus on mental health and wellbeing.
One could argue that one of the main reasons employees are preferring the remote work model is because of the benefits that it has, especially regarding mental health and well-being.
Findings of Owl labs report that 3 in 4 employees (74%) said after the pandemic working from home is better for their mental health, while 76% said working from home after the pandemic would make them happier.
On making wellbeing a priority, WHO guidance released in September, for the first time, advised managers to undergo training to improve their ability to prevent stressful work conditions and assist distressed employees.
Another survey from Deloitte shows that improving worker well-being is one of the three objectives employees have for work transformation in the next three years.
Similarly, senior executives identified boosting employee well-being as one of the primary work transformation goals, despite not ranking it as highly an objective as workers did.
4. The growing role of cybersecurity
The sharp increase in the number of IoT devices is one of the main reasons for the rise in cyberattacks over the last decade. Now, with remote work becoming popular, the importance for cybersecurity is rapidly increasing.
A Cisco study which surveyed over 600 organizations in Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States showed that 88% of responders said that cybersecurity is now extremely important or more important than before COVID-19, compared to 85% in Asia Pacific, Japan and China, and 81% in Europe.
Numerous businesses have started to take steps to support their remote workforce. Cisco reports 97% of North and South America firms changed their cybersecurity regulations.
The top policy related changes were: increasing the VPN capacity, web controls, and implementing multi-factor authentication.
Businesses are increasingly worried about cybersecurity as a whole. The average cost of data breach marked $4.24 million in 2021.
With remote work-related breaches costing an additional $1.07 million on average, remote security is becoming an even higher risk and responsibility.
5. Part-time employees, freelancers and borderless workforce is growing
The remote work model obviously has many advantages for the employees, but clearly, they are not the only ones who gain from it.
Of the benefits that employers have from the remote work model is that it expands their opportunities for hiring top talent with less risk, cost, and ease then in the traditional work model.
According to Statista, 37% of the workforce in the US are freelancers. Just in 2020, there were 59 million freelancers, with that figure projected to reach 90.1 million by 2028.
The number is swiftly evolving after the pandemic, with studies showing that 58% of American professionals who started working remotely after the outbreak are considering freelancing.
On the other hand, when it comes to global hiring, US tech companies are amongst the top H-1B visa sponsors. With visa procedures and travel limitations being challenging, these barriers are eliminated by remote work, making it simpler to hire specialists abroad.
While mostly global hiring has its perks, there is a caveat: sometimes there can be legal uncertainties.
There were reports of taxation hurdles for remote workers in the Czech Republic where there is still legal uncertainty around remote workers’ status.
Due to this, any businesses looking to hire on a global scale will probably need clarification on these issues. So remember to keep an eye out for those!
Remote work is not going anywhere. People have started to expect it in several professions and industries.
With the latest data continuously showing the benefits both the employers and employees have, the trajectory seems to be steadily growing in this direction.
Although we do not yet know the long term effects, the current data shows us that now is a good time for companies to start making some changes!