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As companies are deciding on how to handle remote work after the pandemic, we revisit the concept.

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Six months ago, we identified the Top 5 HR Trends of 2021. Three of the five were directly related to remote work and one had elements of it. This ‘hot topic’ has continued to increase in importance. Given that most of the U.S. is opened up and other countries may soon follow, companies have to decide what to do about how they work. Will they require people to come back to the office? Will people still work remotely? Given this new challenge, we thought it might be helpful to revisit the remote work trend.

Flexibility and Autonomy Rule!

Research has shown time and time again that employees want flexibility and autonomy. These are two topics we have discussed at length because of their importance. When employees have control over how they do their work and have flexibility in their schedules and work environment, they tend to thrive! No one wants to feel micro-managed or controlled. We like to be treated as competent adults.

One way to provide employees with flexibility and control is to allow for remote work. When employees have the option to work from home (or anywhere), they can set themselves up for success in their personal lives and their work lives. Commute times are shortened and caretaking tasks can be taken care of during breaks throughout the day if so desired. It allows the employee to shape their day and schedule to what works best for them in all arenas of life.

Remote work can be a great way to bring flexibility into employees’ lives.

Productivity Still Wins

Often times, companies and leaders don’t like remote work because they worry people won’t get their work done. They fear that productivity will suffer. However, we know that’s not true! Remote employees are just as productive, and sometimes they are even more productive. Not only can remote work be effective, we know that happier employees are also more productive. Thus, if someone is loving the remote work life, you probably don’t have to worry about them actually working from afar.

The fear of this remote work trend is frankly insulting. Why don’t these leaders trust their people? If companies and teams don’t build a culture of trust and respect, a lot more problems are going to surface beyond productivity issues. Yes, there will be times where it doesn’t work. However, there are always times where people underperform regardless of location. If you are unable to understand your people’s performance without being in the same physical location, you are going to face a lot of additional challenges. Majority of the time, remote work does not hinder productivity.

The Downsides of the Remote Work Trend

Speaking of productivity, we know that working from home can actually cause people to work more hours than they typically would in an office. Managing work and life without clear physical boundaries can be hard. Many of us learned this the hard way when all members of the household were stuck in the same place all the time during the pandemic.

We also know that building relationships virtually can be hard at times. Leaders and employees need to be extremely intentional to ensure collaboration and team building in a remote environment. You don’t have the casual kitchen trips or lunch outings to bump into people. Without a strong culture and practices to support that culture, a deeper sense of belonging to the team can be lost.

Don’t worry! The pros of remote work heavily outweigh the cons for many of us!

Takeaway Some Tips!

Luckily, the downsides to this remote work trend can be overcome. We’ve shared many tips before so we encourage you to check those out if you are moving into a permanent full- or part-time remote situation!

Here are some articles and podcast episodes to check out!

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