It’s been a big year for remote work, with 51% of global knowledge workers forecast to have switched to remote roles by the end of 2021. Now, as we head into the new year, we’re all anticipating an even bigger shift to a more flexible and globally-connected world of work.
Indeed, remote work could have seismic effects on the entire earth, impacting things like wealth distribution, urban planning and what we’ve always known to be the modern workday.
But how will this new landscape look? And what challenges will HR leaders and directors face, as a result?
Remote Working as a Requirement
More and more, applicants are adding remote work to their tick-list when applying for job vacancies. What was once a ‘nice to have’ is now a ‘must-have’, with an incredible 452% rise in remote advertised roles since the start of the pandemic.
In 2022, the number of roles offered remotely is only expected to grow to satiate the desire of the market’s more skilled workers and mirror the growth in remote working as a whole. Remote working, in 2022, will become more than a perk that a few forward-thinking companies offer and feel more like a requirement for employers. With 82% of workers ‘happier’ to work from home, this shift makes sense for engaged, innovative teams.
Simply scaling remote work ‘on time’ will be a feat for employers, ensuring they can attract the right talent and protect staff retention. As remote becomes a requirement, every second counts in the race to create a remote, if not a hybrid environment for employees.
The great resignation is only adding pressure to this pile, as more than 15 million people have already resigned from their jobs since April 2021, with more turbulence on the horizon as people continue to play musical chairs to seek roles that better satisfy them.
America Leading the Way in Remote Work
In 2021, American companies were the quickest to adopt remote work, with 70% of remote listings originating from inside the US. Large US corporations like Adobe, Amazon and Apple have since announced their plans for long-term remote work strategies, suggesting the States will continue to lead the way to this new world of work in 2022.
Indeed, America is ahead in every sense of the word remote, also taking charge of the coworking scene, estimated for 6.3M of the population to utilize the 3,763 shared office spaces already dotted around the country.
For global companies, directors will need to work hard to harmonize their US and European headquarters, ensuring the two are on a level playing field in terms of remote work.
Those looking to enter new territories for the first time will also need to consider the differences between remote work culture and the infrastructure available to support newly remote teams, both inside and outside the US.
Cyber Security As a Greater Concern
Moving towards remote work means relying more on the cloud to stay connected. While this is great for cross-communication, it also opens organizations up to more data breaches and entry points for infiltration. Cyber security, then, is one of the greatest challenges the remote work movement will encounter in 2022 and this is already being felt and forecasted across the board.
Nearly half (40%) of companies are worried about how remote work will directly impact cyber security, resulting in an expected 10% increase in global cyber security spending. This influx in cyber budgets comes even during an economic recovery, showing the magnitude of remote work’s greatest threat.
The challenge is clear: balancing the need to expand cyberinfrastructure while ensuring companies remain compliant and keep their data protected.
Companies may need to invest more in cyber solutions, software and consultants to manage the change, especially when working internationally. What’s more, HR teams will need to take some of this information on board, allowing this to seep into their specialism, as they make tough calls on topics such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to etch out remote employee policy.
Growth in Global Workforces
With a work from anywhere attitude comes a work from anywhere reality. In 2022, the very core of the remote work philosophy will become even more prominent as employers take full advantage of the earth as their oyster.
In doing so, growth in global workforces can help companies to find more diversity in their teams, recruiting from anywhere in the world and opening up roles to new demographics that would have been less inclined to otherwise apply. For example, many people are now seeing remote work as a retirement plan or as a way to comfortably phase out our professional life as we come to the end of our careers.
Although remote work empowers individuals to adopt a ‘work from anywhere’ mindset, the nature of remote work lends itself to some geographies more than others, presenting a challenge for global companies and specific labor-intensive industries.
For example, so far, remote work has been more concentrated in high-income countries, carried out by highly skilled, highly educated workers. It’s thought that 25% of people worked remotely, at some point, during the pandemic in high-income countries, versus 13% in countries with lower incomes. Companies with plans to expand into other areas of the world may require the help of global mobility experts and will surely need to assess their expansion based on the early data that’s emerging.
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