The Future of Remote Work

At CXC we are constantly adapting and embracing the future of work. We have done this in a number of ways, for example, we have been a remote-first business for several years and we are constantly adopting new technologies and processes to digitize and make it easy for our clients to work with us.

“The future is always beginning now”
Mark Strand

This future first approach to business has helped us to constantly evolve and improve in our 29 years in business.

Our leading position in the contingent workforce management and outsourced employment sector has given us a unique perspective of what the future of work will look like.

Covid-19 has accelerated the acceptance of the future of work within large, medium and small organisations. The most significant change for many organisations around the world has been the forced embrace of remote working.

Covid-19 has had obvious lasting negative effects on industries such as hospitality and travel, however, some industries have seen significant growth such as logistics. Delivery and e-commerce. Perhaps the most obvious impact of COVID-19 on the labour force is the dramatic increase in employees working remotely and companies seeking to access talent globally whilst reducing their cost base

“Remote work and virtual meetings are likely to continue, albeit less intensely than at the pandemic’s peak”
– McKinsey.

McKinsey and Deloitte have recently released interesting reports around the future of work. McKinsey estimates that 20-25% of workforces will continue to work from home 3-5 days per week after the pandemic.

If remote work is here to stay the focus should now switch to how to better manage remote workers. While governments such as Germany are adapting to the shift towards remote work, businesses must evaluate how they will develop their hr practises and how to make remote work a permanent place in your business. To assist businesses to switch toward long-term remote working, the government of Ireland has established 3 pillars to help guide with this process in their National Remote Work Strategy.

Remote working has seen the lines between work and life increasingly blur. As a result, the right to disconnect is an increasingly popular topic of discussion. In December 2020, The Eu for example has passed a non-binding resolution arguing that individuals have a fundamental “right to disconnect.” “ the need for employees to be available via smartphone or e-mail around the clock is detrimental to mental health and well-being and that workers should be allowed to be offline without suffering employer retribution as a result” 

Costs & Savings of Remote work

According to McKinsey, 20% of business travel, the most lucrative segment for airlines, may not return. This represents a huge challenge for airlines and auxiliary industries, however, it also represents huge cost savings for businesses. Another cost-saving for businesses in the future is the reduced need for office space as workers choose remote working or hybrid working.

These cost-savings will allow the business to switch from a focus on surviving to thriving. “COVID-19 may propel faster adoption of automation and AI, especially in work arenas with high physical proximity.” Savings made by businesses may further advance the adoption of automation and AI  after the pandemic.

Diversity & Inclusion in the Remote Workplace

“In Europe and the United States, workers with no college degree, members of ethnic minority groups, and women are more likely to need to change occupations after COVID-19 than before.”

The rapidly changing landscape of the workplace has led to concerns over increased inequality for employees. The McKinsey report highlighted that changes brought on by the pandemic “will hit younger workers more than older workers, and individuals not born in the European Union more than native-born workers.”

There has also been an increasing call on governments to improve internet access in rural areas. As “even in advanced economies, almost 20 percent of workers in rural households lack access to the internet.” Nonetheless, remote work has given companies the opportunity to enrich their diversity by employing workers who “were unable to relocate to the superstar cities where talent, capital, and opportunities concentrated before the pandemic.”

Both businesses and policymakers could collaborate to support workers migrating between occupations. Under the Pact for Skills established in the European Union during the pandemic, companies and public authorities have dedicated €7 billion to enhance the skills of some 700,000 automotive workers, while in the United States, Merck and other large companies have put up more than $100 million to burnish the skills of Black workers without a college education and create jobs that they can fill.

The reward of such efforts would be a more resilient, more talented, and better-paid workforce—and a more robust and equitable society. Business will reap the rewards of increased diversity & inclusion, the method by which remote workers are rewarded needs to be overhauled.

Rewarding Remote Workers

In addition to tax breaks and additional legal rights, businesses need to re-evaluate their rewards scheme for their now remote workers.

Ibec & Deloitte have outlined 4 key considerations businesses must take when rewarding their remote workers.

Benchmarking

With increasing numbers of employees working from home in various locations, employers need to consider whether existing benchmarking practices and remuneration levels are fit for purpose.

 

Regulatory Considerations

While employers may be comfortable with regulatory requirements in their own country of operation, care must be taken to ensure compliance with local regulations where employees are based.

 

Benefits

Current benefits offerings may no longer be suited to the needs of remote employees, need to also consider those now working abroad.

 

Equity

Have any changes in the location of any incentive plan participants been identified

 

 

 

 

“The coronavirus, and its economic and social fallout, is a time machine to the future. Changes that many of us predicted would happen over decades are instead taking place in the space of weeks.”
– New York Times

While rewards are important to employees, hr managers must also be aware of the increased need for the following:

  • Designing work for wellbeing – end of work-life balance
  • Beyond reskilling – unleashing worker potential
  • Super teams – Where work happens
  • Memo to HR – accelerating the shift to re-architecting work (Ibec & Deloitte)

The future of work is remote and at CXC we expect that alongside a rise in remote working there will be a shift towards contingent and non-employed workers for businesses. If your business is thinking about moving towards a contingent workforce or struggling to manage your current independent contractors, CXC may have a solution for you.

For CXC the past, past and future is remote. We are massive advocates for the benefits of remote work but it is also important that organisations take steps to reduce the major risks that arise

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