Depending on your location, the pandemic might be limiting your plans for business and travel right now. You might be getting considerable value out of a car stereo installation on local drives, but unable to make use of your frequent flyer miles.
But just as many people can now work wherever they go, it’s possible for you to lay down new business plans without traveling, even in another country. In fact, it might be vital for existing and new business ventures to set up to take advantage of remote work.
Even if you don’t meet in person, you can interview promising candidates. Without leaving your home, you can hire people from the EU who have years of experience with remote work. Yet going beyond convenience, the need to attract, retain, and engage with talent might soon be tied to your company’s attitude and policies towards accommodating remote work.
A growing trend
Remote working arrangements have played a major role in enabling various companies to continue operating amid a global pandemic. By deploying the necessary infrastructure, it’s possible to prioritize the health and safety of your people while also cutting down considerably on the costs of office space and energy consumption.
Naturally, people appreciate being able to stay employed amid all the uncertainty in the world. But working from home has also been beneficial to employees in other ways. It gives them greater flexibility to balance their work and leisure activities. They also save time and money by not having to dress for work, commute, and eat out every day.
Of course, these new arrangements haven’t been entirely free of downsides. Individual workers have to deal with feelings of social isolation. They might experience a drop in productivity without experienced colleagues to learn from, or managers to oversee their work. Leaders also face the challenge of ensuring smooth team collaboration and will have to learn how to build trust and effective relationships with people they never meet in person.
Overall, though, the numbers show that remote work had been slowly increasing over the years leading up to 2020. The pandemic only accelerated this existing trend. It’s certain to feature strongly in future employment considerations.
The widespread adoption of remote work has significant implications for all workers and employers across industries. Not all jobs are equal when it comes to opportunities for remote work.
People who work in so-called ‘knowledge occupations’ are more likely to be able to bring their tasks home and accomplish them remotely. Those employed in services, manufacturing, hospitality, and leisure, and similar areas will be required to maintain physical involvement.
As the pandemic continues to play out on a global stage, workers are adapting to those inequalities. And students will be watching and absorbing these lessons; they will directly shape their career paths. The pool of talent available will become more sharply delineated into those who can work in remote-compatible jobs and those who can’t.
Moreover, not all countries are performing to the same standard when it comes to remote work. Even prior to the emergence of Covid-19, countries like Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg had a large base in the knowledge sector. With the infrastructure and skilled workforce already in place, these are an attractive source of talent for businesses embracing the international potential of remote work.
Gaining an edge in talent
Company performance will always be tied to its people. And moving forward, the talent factor in turn seems set to be linked increasingly with remote working policies.
While remote work might not be the future for every occupation or industry, it now carries enough weight that it deserves to be among the options offered to potential candidates. Many employees will seek the opportunity to enjoy better work-life balance and flexibility from their homes. Even when the coronavirus has come under control, safety considerations might still be top of mind.
At the same time, some people might still prefer to work in an office and have regular face-to-face interactions with their colleagues. They might feel more productive under supervision or see it as a better chance for career advancement.
Employers need to recognize that these considerations will fall across a wide spectrum, and give their people the choice. Doing so will make the company more attractive and competitive. And being accommodating early on will let a business take on international talent, drawing upon a diverse mix of skills, experiences, and backgrounds.
Leverage that potential correctly, and you could bring an advantage to any business. You can maximize knowledge work and become resilient to future disruption. And you can do all that without making a single overseas business trip.