Remote Office Trends in 2021: What Are You Looking Forward To?ITFirst South Africa
“If I had asked the public what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
This quote from Henry Ford shows us clearly the impact of innovation and a shift in the status quo. And if 2020 has given us anything, it’s the ability to consider new ways to do – well – pretty much everything.
We’re looking specifically at remote office trends in 2021 to determine if we need a faster horse, or something altogether different. One thing is for sure, things are going to change this year. We just need to make sure that we stay ahead of the curve and make the most of these exciting times.
Remote Office Trends – What Can We Expect?
When we were all sent home in 2020 there was a period of time where we didn’t know up from down. Now, a year down the line we’re seeing statistics showing that remote workers are more productive, more engaged, and are costing their companies a whole lot less.
One article discussing the shift in remote working says, “By 2025, some 70 percent of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month.”
It adds “The percentage of people with compatible jobs will expand as knowledge-based work continues to edge out jobs that require a physical presence.”
What advantages does the remote office offer that is pushing the traditional office environment into antiquity?
What do the numbers say as to productivity levels for remote workers?
A recent survey conducted across multiple industries showed improved productivity for 48.6% of respondents since staff started working remotely. IT and telecoms, insurance, and finance saw the biggest boosts in this area.
Another survey found that remote staff works an additional 1.4 days per month than in-office employees.
While the reasons for this may vary, there are some common-sense answers to these numbers.
- Remote working requires more task-based work which is easier to manage and track. This is in contrast to working in a 9 – 5 role with staff merely filling in hours.
- There has been a surge in apps and online tools to streamline processes. Remote working means we don’t have the option to lean across the desk and ask Trevor where that file is. Therefore, better systems have been implemented which make task completion that much easier.
- Management has been making use of time tracking software to stay on top of their team. This may have a negative connotation, but in reality, it encourages staff to focus on tasks at hand and also gives the management team a realistic idea of how long certain things take.
- Many employees have related that they get more done without constant interruptions from their colleagues. Staff meetings, water-cooler gossip, and other intrusions tend to eat away at our time in the office – a problem solved when working from home.
With a scattered workforce, smart businesses have worked to beef up their cybersecurity.
With so many home computers accessing proprietary information via the cloud or VPNs, IT teams have been working hard to close gaps in their company security which would allow for data theft or any other form of cybercrime.
- Comprehensive cybersecurity policies in place with sensible, user-friendly documentation.
- Secure Wi-Fi networks and VPN pins
- Encryption software
- Increased password security
- Two-factor authentication where possible
- Anti-virus software and secure firewalls
This can only be seen as a positive as CIOs invest more money and manpower into keeping staff and data safe.
Tools and Connectivity
With fibre and 5G rolling out as fast as possible, more remote workers are enjoying improved productivity from this incredible boost of internet speed.
Collaborative online tools allow teams to work together in a focused space, in real-time, without the distractions of the traditional office. High-quality video conferences are second nature now as teams get together to brainstorm or share information in a safe environment. Instant messaging apps allow for trackable communications between staff members without having to wait for a return email or phone call.
VoIP systems are growing in popularity with their scalable, affordable, and versatile features and linking up teams and customers across cities and countries.
These tools would certainly have evolved, but the sudden and drastic move to remote working has expedited the process and given us far more than the faster horse we may have been looking for.
It’s clear that remote working as a trend is going nowhere, and those who embrace these exciting innovations will be the businesses that are thriving tomorrow.
So, what do you need to ensure that you and your team are at the cutting edge of the remote wave?
The best place to start is with the best connectivity solution. That means we’ll be chatting soon. Call us on +27 878 200 220.8