Remember just a few years ago? You probably knew a handful of people who worked from home, but it wasn’t as common as working in the office. Most people drove back and forth from work, stressing out that kids would safely get to school or worrying that they’d be late. Sure, some jobs (like us writers) call to working at home, but many other professions are traditional office jobs. But we all know the global pandemic changed how we work. Now many of us are wondering what’s the future of work? Will jobs stay remote? Where does that leave work-life integration? So many questions, we know, so let’s answer some!
The rise of remote work
Long before the global pandemic hit, people were working from home. However, many of them still had offices and it was a matter of working both remotely and in office. We saw the implementation of flex weeks where employees could split time between work and home, and many traveling professionals spend their non-travel time working from home. Little by little, though the shift was moving towards working at home. And then, boom – the pandemic hit, and the world shut down. But people still had to work. So they pulled out their laptops and cleared off their kitchen tables and working at home rose exponentially.
The Economist shares this, pre-pandemic Americans spent 5% of their working time at home. But by the spring of 2020, that number rose to 60%. And reports show that the shift had gone better than expected. Though people are working longer hours, they report being happier and more productive. As lockdowns lift, it seems that working from home is likely to stay. Happier and more productive? That’s a win-win, right?
Pre-pandemic work-at-home life showed people that they could save on commute time, maintain a happier home life, and even be more productive at work. Many companies offered remote work as a perk, maybe as part-time, maybe as full-time. For other companies, like our own Bunny Studio, remote work made sense because of the global structure of our company. Remote work also showed happier employees, and we love that. Who knew that it would be here to stay once the pandemic hit?
Will work from home continue in 2022?
We are going to say a resounding yes to the question, will jobs stay remote? In fact, Forbes tells us that by the year 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. While 2020 may be considered the year of remote work, it is just the beginning. Experts see the trend continuing in 2021 and beyond. The pandemic showed us that working at home is quite doable, and the results showed us that it’s not only doable, but it’s also productive and fulfilling.
What jobs will be remote?
The truth is, not all jobs are cut out to be remote. As mentioned, things like writing lend themselves well to working at home. But obviously, retail, hospitality, and manual work not so much. Also, medical and healthcare professions need to be in person, but they have also have seen a rise in remote appointments. This means doctors and other health care professionals could add some remote time as well. That benefits patients, too.
Let’s take a look at what jobs have the highest percentage of remote work. Jobs like IT, technology, and consulting are high on the list for remote work. According to Vox.com, it’s because they have these attributes:
- updating knowledge and learning
- interacting with computers
- processing, analyzing, and interpreting information,
- thinking creatively
However, some jobs are sticking to the world of office work and resistant to the work at home model even if they have the capabilities to work at home. For instance, law firms tend to stand by the traditional model of in-office work. Even during the pandemic, a large number of lawyers and law staff worked in person. The fact that many lawyers have private offices made it easier during the pandemic. This may be fine for now, but as the younger generation enters the workforce, they probably will not be so on board with a five-day in-person work week. It’s expecting that more modern industries, like tech and STEM industries, will offer more remote work. This will help them acquire the high levels of talent that they are seeking.
What are some pros of remote work? Will jobs stay remote?
Many people are wondering if jobs will stay remote as work and life return to normal. People got tossed into working at home during the pandemic and realized it was not only doable but also productive and fulfilling. With advancing technology, accessible wifi, and lots of Zoom, it’s easy for many professions to work at home. Even things like education and academia can have remote hours. People are also finding that you don’t need to be at home full time for that remote satisfaction, even a few interspersed at-home days offer the benefits. But what is so great about working at home? Here are some of the things we think makes it productive and rewarding:
- Remote jobs benefit not just employees, but also employers. For employers, the price of real estate can go down without needing so much office space.
- It’s better for the environment without leaving such a footprint in commuting.
- Employees can be more flexible with hours and have better work-life integration. For example, they can work early in the morning, take a break and get kids to school, then pick back up with work.
- Things like scheduling appointments or family events are a bit easier.
- Employees have time for self-care during the day. Instead of taking a break in the office, you can take breaks at home where your happiness and hobbies are. You can find time to do small things that bring happiness, like play with your dog or cat, meditate, prep a healthy dinner, fold a load of clothes while listening to relaxing music, or crochet. This adds to the day instead of taking away from work. You can drink plenty of water and create your own playlists to listen to while working. All of this lends to productivity, better mental health, and fulfillment.
- Zoom, Slack, and Teams along with other platforms enable strong communication even when team members are not together in person.
- People don’t have the stress of commuting and feeling like they are wasting time in their cars or feel angry in traffic.
You can see there are a lot of benefits of working remotely. But of course….there’s the flipside…
What are some cons of remote work? Will jobs stay remote?
Just as we can list off plenty of pros for working at home, there are cons, too, of course. These have to be considering when thinking about if jobs will stay remote or not. Just to say, though, we think there are more and stronger pros than cons, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the cons, too. So let’s see what they are:
- It can be difficult to turn off work. Though even if you work in office you may have trouble leaving it all at the office, working at home definitely blurs the line of work versus home. If your office is in the dining room or somewhere central, it’s a little too easy to check on things before bed or during family time.
- On the other hand, it’s easy to be distracted at home when you should be working. Have you ever looked over at your dog and their cuteness begs you to play, just for a minute? Or your spouse or child is home and you want to talk just for a minute. Maybe there’s a nap calling to you after lunch. And what about chores…home life can definitely beckon to you when you’re trying to work.
- Some people feel isolated. Sure there is Zoom and other methods of chatting remotely, but there’s not the spontaneous stop by your coworker’s desk and chat or go grab some lunch together. It takes more of an effort by both team leaders and team members to form and feel connections.
Why we love it
Bunny Studio has been a remote company long before the pandemic. Our team is spread across the globe and remote works great for us. Our own team members share some advice on making remote work successful:
- Find a company that matches your idea of company culture.
- Make sure your company, team leaders, and colleagues all support you. Though you may be at home, you shouldn’t be alone.
- Stay organized and manage your time. Distraction will be knocking at your door often; it’s up to you to not let it in.
- Have a workspace you love.
- Make sure your communication skills are on point. That means responding quickly to Slack and email, forge those friendships, and stay involved with your team.
- Keep your coffee or tea warm and your water bottle full.
- Think of remote work as a privilege. Relish that time you’re not commuting or when you can prepare a fresh, healthy lunch. Maybe you can get your kids off to school and get a workout in, all while having a complete, productive day working.
So, will jobs stay will remote?
From what we can see, yes, they will. With the overall quality life of showing improvement with remote work, the fact that it’s kinder to the planet, and the truth that people can be just as productive, all things point to remote work staying alive and thriving. Many companies will offer hybrid situations, and of course, there are those who are ready to be back in the office full on. But if nothing else, the pandemic showed us that remote work is not only possible, it’s also fulfilling, satisfying, and productive.
We think the days of boasting how busy we are may be coming to an end, and people want to find some tranquility in their day to day. Sure, it may not happen often, but when you have a bit more time in your day, it’s easier to find a moment here and there, even if it’s just giving your dog some belly rubs in the middle of the day.