Each year, changes in the workplace push new remote work trends to the forefront.
Some trends remain the same or are reshaped; others enter the scene with lightning speed, like last year’s coronavirus crisis that remains in focus this year, too.
To see how successful we were in predicting changes in the workplace last year, check out our post about 2020 virtual work trends. But if you are future-oriented, it is time to see how we forecast the newest course that 2021 remote work trends will take in the next ten years.
Remote Work Trends for 2021 that Will Mark the Next Decade
Remote work became a priority last year. It used to be the exception, now it is the rule.
If you are a typical digital agency, you are already accustomed to working in this way. But if 2020 was the first year that you went off in the virtual office, then these next 365 days may come with an amount of stress that is new to you.
The remote work stats for 2020 say that around 65% of the (US) workforce works remotely, partially or full-time, while the number of people working virtually at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010. These are staggering numbers that showcase the true transformation that is underway.
In the home office and the home school, people found themselves torn between family time, me-time, and work time. A dull focus, wasted hours, scattered attention, diminished productivity, and not knowing where work ended were among telecommuters’ commonly shared concerns.
However, the change doesn’t end there: the workplace in 2021 will be reinvented yet again. A stronger voice and uncompromising work-life balance are now mandatory for successful companies.
With all that in mind, it is critical to have a clear picture of the pathways future work is going to take.
To keep your human resources among the high paying jobs in demand of the future, you need to take care of your team skills.
This adjustment requires taking the role of a genius draftsman with innovative team restructuring capabilities.
Here are the trends you need to consider to succeed.
1. Make no concessions for employee wellbeing.
It is no longer enough to put stress management among your business goals, organize the yearly staff training, and write a stress-free remote work policy. It takes an active approach to long-term wellbeing in the home office, including taking actionable steps:
- Turn off your phone or reduce notifications.
- Say no to family members.
- Set a schedule and stick to it.
- Complete your most difficult tasks first.
- Reach out to friends or family during breaks to beat the blues of social isolation.
Most importantly, make your mental health a priority by becoming strict with working hours and getting lost in work.
2. Hire entrepreneurial employees.
Delegating work, micro-management, non-existing initiative, and lack of responsibility are elements of stale work culture with no place in future jobs.
As an employer who asks for more from their employees, you need to hire people who know their stuff and have personal standards and motivation to do the job superbly. Such an effort must be good enough to surpass expectations and grow your business in unforeseen areas.
3. Build shatterproof teams.
Building powerful teams is among the 2021 remote work trends leaders struggle with simply because many are not used to running a team from home.
Powerful teams include creating squad roles – you need at least three of them to handle operational, motivational, and expert work on the same project. Flash teams are an excellent example of powerful squads.
Watch the video below to learn more about building flash teams and flash organizations.
4. Redirect your business.
Setting a new business direction goes hand in hand with telecommuting.
To correct course and fix any past mistakes, you have to understand what went wrong in the first place in your first virtual team. Next, research and plan your new venture and prepare your employees. Finally, think of the admin and legal stuff that accompanies a new business direction.
5. Restructure work.
We often talk about setting a new business structure or putting your business on firm ground. But sometimes, pushing forward to the future work demands an extreme makeover.
Radical restructuring such as forgetting about your conventional office altogether or going full monty in freelance work may be the only solutions that truly innovate in the remote work trends of 2021.
Do you think freelancers cannot be trusted? This video will change your mind:
6. Mental health is number one.
A crisis is an excellent teacher. It highlights team weaknesses. You need a clear mind to tackle a crisis of any sort. Therefore, put your and your employee’s mental health as a number one priority in 2021. Walk the talk and set firm mental health policies that go beyond and above stress management and essential well-being. High-performing teams need to be at optimal health for peak performance, including drive and vigor, and not merely working in survival mode.
7. A safe and secure workplace.
The definition of safety and security in a virtual team includes cybersecurity, data privacy, psychological safety, and safety in meetings/calls/conferences. The importance of safety and security clarifies when something bad happens. Don’t jeopardize your team and virtual workplace safety by missing appropriate measures. Use VPNs, sign NDAs, set up secure software, run face-to-face interviews when necessary, and ensure workplace trust is a priority.
8. Give more to employees.
The first reason for giving more is because employees will ask for more. Boring jobs won’t attract talent and you need to be ready to reciprocate quality to get the best of that talent.
The second reason for being generous is because generosity is an investment in your most important company resource – your people. Having an appreciative boss is one of the key reasons for which qualified experts love their job.
9. Disperse your workforce.
Get used to working with people from all over the world; this trend is not new and it is here to stay.
The advantages of a dispersed workforce are well documented and include access to global talent at competitive prices and a chance to increase team creativity and resourcefulness in ways you haven’t considered. Make sure to schedule community sharing sessions (anything that works for you – from simple video calls to marking social occasions and playing team games) to avoid the feeling of disconnection and social isolation that creeps up when working alone from home.
10. Retraining, reskilling, and upskilling.
When social change is imminent, it is an opportunity to shine and show your adaptability skills, both as a leader and employee.
Continuous learning is a bonus for strong virtual teams and a necessity for adjustment to new conditions. Rapidly changing industries and technologies and the reinvention of service-based business models will keep you and your team on your toes in 2021.
Therefore, put in the learning hours.
11. Hourly work.
There are numerous advantages to hiring people per hour. One obvious benefit is the chance to pay only for completed work. On the other hand, being paid per hour provides a better work-life balance for employees and fair pay when working overtime. Employees who work per hour try to maintain quality work and take responsibility for their performance.
12. Cloud computing.
Having access to cloud computing is a prerequisite for any virtualization.
The vital benefits of working “in the cloud” are multiple: cost efficiency, reliability, mobility, automatic software integration, and data backup and restore options.
But if we have to emphasize a single benefit of cloud computing for virtual work, that would be an on-demand service. On-demand service helps companies of all sizes:
- Pay for precisely the type of service they need.
- Avoid huge costs.
- Keep a low profile while they jumpstart a digital business.
- An opportunity to scale down the road.
13. Cultivating company values.
Working as a team in a virtual office requires designing a company culture with strong core values. Clarity, transparency, and trust are always a good idea for the core values because they:
- Build healthy relationships with greater autonomy on the side of the employer and the employee.
- Tie up the vision, mission, and culture into a non-nonsense executable framework based on fairness and measurability.
Company values keep dispersed employees tightly connected and clear about business goals and their role in executing those goals.
14. Improved onboarding process.
One of the most prominent remote working trends for 2021 is the ability for fast onboarding, which you can organize with clear step-by-step rules so that you don’t waste time with HR bureaucracy.
Hiring people per hour, on many occasions, and for a variety of work tasks and projects requires you to push for an agile onboarding process. Setting up workflows and processes is a must for all business goals; now, you need to be ready with an onboarding process workflow right from the very beginning when you hire a new employee.
Make it so easy for a new person to become a part of your virtual team that they immediately understand where to find necessary information, access to apps, files, and shared space for the task they are about to execute. If you can automate specific processes, even better.
15. Asynchronous communication.
Are you used to tapping your colleague on the shoulder and getting an immediate response? Well, in 2021, all of us will have to arm ourselves with more patience and tolerance in communication.
Asynchronicity in communication is a major trend for 2021 as a natural consequence of collaborating in different time zones and greater employee autonomy.
The new way of communicating with unusual working patterns is asynchronous, which means you need to set up a reliable way to communicate that replaces the convenience of shared physical spaces and establishes the convenience of a virtual office.
Align Your Team with 2021 Remote Work Trends
You cannot adjust to 2021 remote work trends by following the stable and solid traditional office work patterns. If you are building a virtual team, you can incorporate next year’s trends by delegating work to freelancers.
Freelancer teams are a solution to your problems as a leader in 2021 because you can:
- Organize an adjustable work schedule. Provide your team members with the liberty to choose how much, what, and when they work.
- Encourage the best, self-motivated people to apply. Let them take responsibility for the completed work.
- Build role-based teams. Replace traditional work contracts with a and are much easier to manage with fewer risks and costs.
- Make your business more agile. You can respond to changing market circumstances much faster by quickly setting up and dissolving contracts according to needs arising at the moment.
- Virtualize the work structure. Say goodbye to conventional office costs and burdensome procedures.
- Invest in mental health improvements. Set a personal example of what it means to have a healthy work-life balance and provide clear guidance about job expectations.
- Establish workplace generosity. Enable your employees to choose the type of work they are best at and at pay that will grow your business.
- Hire people per hour, per week, per month, or per project. Save on contractual costs and simplify complex labor law requirements for full-time salaries and benefits.
- Automate onboarding, communication, learning, and collaboration. Build a solid virtual team architecture you can reshape and rework at any time.
- Create a workflow-based team. Define clear roles and responsibilities within the workflow and enable easy employee replacement, offboarding, and reskilling.
Are you ready to unleash your inner virtual team architect?
We build agile, flexible, and scalable teams of freelancers with a virtual flash team architecture.
Learn to grow and scale your business with virtual teams and global freelancers with our FREE Virtual Team Starter Pack!