Remote Work Best Practices Part 1 – Trends in Remote Work

Learn about trends in remote work in Australia and worldwide.

We look at how the percentage of people working remotely has changed over time, what organisations have learned from being forced into remote working arrangements during lockdowns and what they’re planning to do in the future.

We also examine The Great Resignation and how this ties into remote work and some key questions that businesses need to ask themselves about the role of remote work in the future.

Watch the next video in the series here:

Part 2 – Is Remote Work a Good Thing?

And if you know of anyone who would benefit from this video, please share it with them.

Video Transcript

Managing staff remotely

Hi, Andrew Marty from SACS and welcome to video number one in our eight video series on the psychology of managing staff remotely.

This series will be all about explaining to you the theory about how to manage staff remotely, but to give you some really practical tips about how to do so.

This video is all about trends in remote work, and then we’ll work our way through a range of really important topics about remote work, things like how to ensure that we’re recruiting the right people for remote work, how to ensure that we’re skilling people up to work remotely, how to ensure that we’re keeping engagement and wellbeing high.

Trends in remote work

But this video particularly focuses on trends in remote work.

So what this diagram shows you (refer to the video) is that the proportion of people working from home versus working totally in the office really hasn’t changed that much over the course of ten years in Australia.

So that’s an interesting narrative, isn’t it? Because I think the perception is that working from home has increased rapidly. But what about the United States of America?

The statistics were that pre-Covid-19, about 16% worked remotely at least some of the time, and that more than doubled between 2005 to 2015, which meant that they had a slower start but quicker growth.

The current proportions in the Covid world, we simply don’t have the data yet. I’m sure that we will have the data soon, but right now we don’t have the data.

What organisations have discovered

But let’s talk about what organisations are intending to do.

The new normal is likely to be influenced heavily by the experience of Covid-19. The first thing is that many companies have found that it works great, so concerns about it have evaporated. Many people running companies traditionally have thought, well, you can’t do this work from home. But now they’ve discovered that, yes, you can.

Economically, they’ve found significant benefits from not having to pay so much rent. And of course, that’s an important thing in the profitability and sustainability of any organisation.

Mass commuting is an environmental, public health and lifestyle nightmare. And so it does really raise the question about why you would want to have millions of people going to and from offices if you can possibly avoid it.

And of course, now technologies have improved and everybody’s found that they can use Teams or Webex or Zoom, and we’re much more technically ready for all of this stuff.

The Great Resignation

Here’s a really interesting phenomenon which is part of the trend of working from home.

What you’ll see here (refer to the video) is the stats for the United States of America of a phenomenon called the Great Resignation. And what we see here (refer to the video) is that the percentage of workers resigning from their jobs in the American workforce each month was relatively stable from early 2019 up to October 2020.

And then when the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, then it dropped markedly. So the rate of resignations declined very rapidly. In July, there was a spring and then, particularly in recent months, there has been much more of a spring.

The Great Resignation is a phenomenon that’s been observed in a range of different countries around the world, in the west, in particular. So America, as I’ve shown you, has experienced it.

But in Germany, for instance, they’re saying that the numbers of people resigning from the workforce in some months has been as high as 6%, which is phenomenal when you think of it.

Why people are resigning

And there’s been a lot of qualitative investigation about why this is happening. And one of the reasons appears to be “People are forcing me to go back to work in the office when I don’t really want to”.

In other words, people have had a taste of work-life flexibility and have really valued it. And so they don’t want to be dragooned back into the office.

What organisations need to consider for the future

So I think that one of the things that organisations need to consider as they’re planning where to from here, do you really need to mandate that people come back to the office? Is there a possibility for a hybrid model? Is there a possibility to allow people to work where they want to work, provided that you can ensure that there’s high levels of accountability?

And by the way, the 7th video in this sequence is all about measurement of performance in a remote working situation.

There are some trends in remote work, and the very next video in this series is “Is remote work a good thing?”

Join us for this next video to find out:

Part 2 – Is Remote Work a Good Thing?

And if you’d like some help assessing whether your current employees or your future hires are suited to remote work, contact us for a free trial of our Remote Worker Test.