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Future Trends in Remote Work

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Remote work, once a widespread band aid solution to the problems of the pandemic, looks more and more like the future of the office. But what will remote team culture look like in one, five, or ten years? Businesses must prepare to take advantage of trends in remote work that are reshaping the modern workplace.

Leveraging a remote workforce means not falling prey to common remote workplace issues, including: tech problems, changing work patterns, communication issues, and lack of oversight. Luckily, there are many factors that can help your team avoid these pitfalls. To start, let’s take a look at how technological advancements like VR and AI can catapult the remote workplace into the future.

Technological Advancements

Technology is at the heart of remote work and always will be. The following technologies will grow in importance in the next few years:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automation
  • Advanced communication tools

We’ll examine how each of these will continue to make waves in the world of remote work, starting with VR.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

If you’re working remotely and haven’t been to a virtual meeting in a 3D workspace, you probably will soon. Employers can create immersive virtual workspaces and enhance the sense of presence during remote meetings.

VR technology is revolutionizing remote collaboration, training, and onboarding processes. With it, teams can create immersive virtual workspaces and enhance the sense of presence during remote meetings. In many cases, it’s like remote employees are right in the office with the rest of the team.

The best part is that VR can help throughout the employment pipeline, from recruiting and screening to collaboration and teambuilding. Investing in this technology can reap benefits across an organization.

Virtual reality is not the only compelling technology on the market these days. Augmented Reality, which overlays digital content on the physical environment, is another technology trend to keep an eye on.

Businesses are leveraging AR technology in design and modeling, training and education, and repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure. Augmented reality improves user engagement, minimizes language barriers, and can even reduce cognitive load.

Both types of tools, VR and AR, are already ubiquitous in the digital workplace. Expect companies to use them more frequently in the future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation

Artificial intelligence has been a buzzword for years. But ever since San Francisco-based OpenAI launched ChatGPT in November of 2022, the technology has exploded. The technology has gotten so good that over 1500 apps, including Slack, Zapier, and even Google can integrate with the AI powerhouse.

This new generation of AI tools goes far beyond just the typical chatbot used on many company websites. AI tools help with streamlining repetitive tasks, improving decision-making processes, and enhancing overall productivity.

Automation goes hand in hand with AI. For busy teams navigating an increasingly complex business ecosystem, it is a must-have. Firms integrate automation tools in project management, data analysis, and routine administrative tasks for remote teams, too.

While AI-powered virtual assistants and automation are growing in importance, there are many tasks that remain firmly in the hands of humans. There are some details that you can’t trust to machines, no matter how sophisticated. Wing Assistant provides dedicated, trained, and fully supervised virtual assistants to businesses in a variety of industries, including:

  • Consulting
  • E-commerce
  • Health & Wellness
  • Investment
  • IT
  • Construction
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Real Estate
  • Staffing
  • Startups

No matter how you hire your remote team, you’ll need to communicate with them. Let’s dive into the improvements in communication tools to see how your team can best leverage new technology.

Advanced Communication Tools

The new generation of communication tools is tailor-made for the remote work revolution. Companies can benefit from software with features like real-time language translation, gesture recognition, and emotion analysis to build cohesion on remote teams.

Advanced communication tools help employers surpass language barriers and foster natural interactions among remote team members. All trends in remote work point to this increasing in the future. Look for major improvements to popular software like Slack, MS Teams, Asana, and Basecamp.

Communication shouldn’t be holding you back from cultivating a high impact remote workforce. Wing Assistant makes comms as easy as possible. For a fixed monthly fee, you’ll get a dedicated, fully supervised VA, as well as access to the Wing Workspace App to communicate with your VA, share files, record screen-sharing videos, and more. Wing VAs also respond within minutes during working hours. They can communicate via phone, text, Slack, MS Teams, or any other platform your organization prefers.

Trends in Remote Work: Evolving Work Patterns

Where people work isn’t the only thing changing, how they work is changing too. If you want to build a successful remote work environment (or find one), read on to learn about how each of these factors impact evolving work patterns in the modern workplace.

Asynchronous Communication

Sometimes remote employees can’t respond immediately to messages. For teams spread out over a wide geographic area, asynchronous communication is a potential pitfall for productivity.

A good dynamic that deals with asynchronous communication involves an ebb and flow between teams. Remember, one of the key benefits of asynchronous communication with a global workforce is the flexibility in work hours. While your US-based team is home with their families, your team on the other side of the world is just logging on for the day. With a good cadence, tasks can be constantly completed.

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

Employees frequently cite improved work-life balance as one of their favorite things about remote work. But one of the keys to success in a remote work environment is setting boundaries. Employees need to know expectations and get the support they need to excel in their roles.

Managing a flexible schedule with teams in different time zones can be a challenge even in the best of times. Two common tips for remote worker success are having a dedicated home office space and creating reliable routines. Time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique can also help facilitate focus and long-term success. The key is to lean into the advantages of remote work and not try to replicate the in-office experience too much.

Remote Team Dynamics

A modern global workforce requires cultural sensitivity and awareness. Team members in other offices may celebrate different holidays or have different perspectives and opinions. This is an asset to an organization, but managers should work with intentionality to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable celebrating this global culture.

To build a sense of camaraderie among remote team members, consider virtual team-building exercises. These activities can take as short as five minutes but build a sense of cohesion and collaboration among employees. Here are few ideas for remote team-building activities:

  • Virtual office tour
  • Birth map (employees share where they were born on a global map)
  • Show and tell
  • Favorite GIF sharing
  • 6-word memoir

Remote collaboration platforms like Loom for video sharing and online whiteboard Miro can also help facilitate connection on these activities. If work from home trends persist, you’ll see a lot more of these types of platforms in the future.

Expectations and Challenges

Following trends in remote work isn’t without its challenges. But the first step to meeting expectations and overcoming challenges is being aware of them. In this section, we’ll explore some common factors so you can tackle both head on.

Employee Expectations

Remote work can be an attractive feature for recruitment. Top talent and young up and comers will appreciate the work-life balance and the flexibility this arrangement provides.

But when it comes to workplace expectations, remote workers are a little different from traditional employees. Career growth and well-being are still paramount, but they will also expect lifestyle flexibility. In contrast to the traditional workplace, remote work is highly variable. This could mean a fully remote arrangement, or something more hybrid like alternating weeks, rotational schedules, or 3/2 weeks. Each arrangement impacts employee satisfaction in different ways.

Wing Assistant VAs work on a reliable, pre-approved weekly schedule. Once you agree upon a set schedule, your Wing Assistant VA can get to work completing tasks on day one, including:

  • Calendar management
  • Basic research and reporting
  • Ordering office supplies
  • CRM admin
  • Email inbox management
  • Booking travel
  • Expense tracking

No matter what your remote work arrangement is, there are bound to be challenges. In the next section we’ll discuss potential challenges to remote leadership.

Challenges of Remote Leadership

Miscommunication, siloed employees and lack of adequate training can be exponentially harmful with a remote workforce. Monitoring productivity can be crucial to ensuring progress, but it can also feel invasive and unnecessary to employees.

To support cohesion and remote team culture, many organizations have turned to building a culture deck. A culture deck is a living document and a visual representation of how employees can excel in the organization.

These documents are particularly useful to remote employees who don’t get a ton of face time with full-time staff. Employees can check the culture deck at any time to get a sense of the organization and its expectations.

Addressing Burnout and Isolation

According to one study from the Integrated Benefits Institute, 40% of remote and 38% of hybrid work is associated with an increased likelihood of depression and anxiety.

That’s why maintaining team cohesion can be difficult when employees are in different places and doing different things.

Here are a few things experts recommend to improve employee mental health:

  • Set clear boundaries
  • Take frequent breaks and vacations
  • Unplug when away from work
  • Connect socially with colleagues routinely outside of the office
  • Develop healthy workplace routines
  • Use a non-linear workday

As with non-remote employees, being mindful and communicating is the first step to avoiding burnout.

Long-Term Impact of Trends in Remote Work on the Workforce

Experts have been collecting a lot of data on the long-term impact of remote data on the workforce. Let’s look at how it’s playing out in the areas of talent acquisition, organizational structure, and environmental impact.

Talent Acquisition and Global Workforce

These days more companies than ever are looking abroad for talent. This expanded reach can help organizations bolster diversity and inclusion. By tapping the talent pool outside of the US, you’ll find a rich and vibrant variety of experiences and perspectives.

In order to do this, hiring managers must shift talent acquisition strategies. Companies need to clearly define the remote work culture, adapt engagement strategies, and leverage technology to make it all work.

Wing Assistant delivers easy access to a global talent workforce that’s fluent in English. A Wing Customer Success Manager will learn your organization’s goals and priorities, then match you with a pre-vetted, trained virtual assistant. You can even opt to work with a bilingual (English/Spanish) VA to assist with tasks like customer service.

Wing VAs can fill a variety of roles, including:

  • Receptionist/General Admin
  • Social media marketer
  • Content writer
  • Real estate assistant
  • E-commerce admin
  • Graphic designer
  • Sales caller

Organizational Structures and Hierarchies

Remote work causes ripples throughout organizations. This is particularly true when we look at organizational structures. Flat hierarchical structures, for example where management designates project-specific hierarchies, are increasing in popularity. An orgnization can be more flexible and agile with a more decentralized model, but employees must prepare themselves for how this changes decision-making processes and organizational dexterity.

Economic and Environmental Impact

One net positive for remote work is that is can have economic and environmental benefits. Organizations lower their carbon footprint by keeping employees at home. Employees also save a lot of time by not commuting, a global average of 72 minutes a day, according to one University of Chicago study. On top of that, the need for commercial real estate becomes much lower, potentially saving the business by avoiding a pricey corporate lease.

Trends in Remote Work Show that Things are Looking Up

As workplaces continue to develop and refine their approach to remote work, the process will only continue to improve. But you need to stay on top of trends in remote work or risk being left behind.

Wing Assistant makes building your remote workforce easy. Simply connect with a Wing Customer Success Manager for a brief phone chat about your business needs and make a small deposit. Then we’ll connect you with one of skilled VAs, ready to make an impact on day one. You can assign your Wing VA unlimited tasks and they’ll respond within minutes during working hours. Contact Wing Assistant today to find out how we can help your business.

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