While remote work has been a growing trend, a recent Gallup poll on current workplace changes found that there has been a more significant uptick in the past several years. 43% of American employees surveyed reporting working away from their team members at least some of the time, as opposed to 39% in 2012. In addition to an increase in the number of employees working remotely, there has also been a rise in the amount of time employees are spending telecommuting. This trend can be seen across industries, with finance, insurance, and real estate experiencing the greatest surges.
What does this mean for companies and employees? The continued evolution of the workplace in response to emerging technologies is nothing new for the labor market. However, companies who are able to adapt to employees’ increasing desire for flexibility both in work hours and in where they are working from will be best positioned to hire and retain top talent.
Furthermore, companies who choose to provide remote work opportunities have a responsibility to support their remote workforce differently than they would employees in the office. Striking the proper balance in meaningful communication and measuring objectives is integral to creating a beneficial experience.
On the other hand, employees who work remotely must make it a priority to connect to coworkers and obtain the necessary tools for successful work. While the Gallup poll found that on a whole remote workers are no less engaged, this varies based on how much of their work is remote. What does shift however, is the level that employees feel they are connected to their manager when it comes to feedback, goals, and career progression. This is another valuable lesson for companies who offer remote work options, as regular check-ins with remote employees is critical to retention.
With an increasingly competitive hiring landscape, employees will continue to look for job opportunities that offer flexibility. Organizations who are able to adapt to this shift will be most attractive to top talent. However, the companies who are able to adapt to these trends while maintaining employee engagement will see the highest returns.