The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things – from how people live, to how they interact, and to how they work. Putting together a remote team during the pandemic, and even after, soon became the norm for many companies.
Did the pandemic force people to embrace the work-from-home model? Are remote teams and remote work here to stay?
The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed transformed the way we work, with remote work becoming the new normal for many organizations. This article explores the process of building a remote team in 2023 and examines the lasting impact of the pandemic on the way we work.
Evolution of Remote Work
While some people believe that remote work is a product of the most recent pandemic, truth be told, it isn’t. Remote work has been around for decades. The first work-from-home model actually began in the Middle Ages, with artisans and service providers setting up shop and selling products from the comfort of their homes.
During the industrial revolution, bigger businesses required people to come to work, thereby giving birth to the standard 9-to-5 workday that we see now. It wasn’t until a few years after the advent of the internet that present-day remote work gained popularity.
When people saw that working in the comfort of their homes was doable with the use of a computer and an internet connection, the first iteration of work-from-home as we see it came to be. Pretty soon, with mobile devices and Wi-Fi, this way of working soon found its way to tropical destinations and vacation spots, turning any place into a viable workspace, and creating what’s called the digital nomad.
Pre-pandemic remote work trends and challenges
Before the pandemic, remote work was already gaining traction in big companies, albeit at a slower pace than those who already relied on it for what’s called the gig economy. Companies at that time only started exploring flexible work arrangements primarily to attract and retain top talent. However, challenges such as limited technology infrastructure, as well as concerns about productivity hindered widespread adoption.
The rapid shift to remote work during the pandemic
Fast-forward to 2020 and companies saw that using remote work was the only way to survive the onslaught of COVID-19. The most recent pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work as organizations had to adapt quickly to ensure business continuity.
With lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, companies embraced this mode of work on an unprecedented scale. This shift brought about both opportunities and challenges, not only for workers but also for the businesses that they served.
Benefits and drawbacks of remote work
Remote work offers several benefits, including increased flexibility, reduced commuting time, and access to a global talent pool. Other additional benefits that could be gained from it include cost savings for both employee and employer, reduction in office politics, and the ability to spend more time with family as well as friends.
As great as remote work is it also presents lots of challenges. Communication mishaps and barriers, potential feelings of isolation, and blurred work-life boundaries are just a few of these. Others point out that having to work longer hours, an increase in workload, violation of privacy via company tracking apps, and the added energy costs also make this work situation somewhat tougher.
Adapting to the New Normal
Since remote work seems to be here to stay, it’s imperative that people start adjusting to its quirks. Here are some of the things that indicate society has started to embrace this new way of working:
Changing attitudes towards remote work among employers and employees
The pandemic forced employers and employees to experience remote work firsthand, leading to a shift in attitudes. Many organizations have recognized the benefits of remote work and are now open to continuing such arrangements even after the pandemic. Employees, too, have seen its advantages and are now leaning towards opportunities that offer flexibility.
Learning to use technological tools that enable remote work
Technology plays a vital role in supporting this work model. Collaboration tools, project management software, and video conferencing platforms have become essential for effective communication and teamwork. Advancements in technology have made remote work more accessible and efficient.
Adopting strategies for building a successful remote team
To build a successful remote team, organizations need to implement specific strategies. These include setting clear expectations, fostering open communication, establishing trust, and promoting a sense of belonging among remote employees. Embracing agile methodologies and promoting regular virtual team meetings also enhance collaboration.
Building a Remote Team
As easy as building a remote team may sound, it isn’t a walk in the park. There are lots of moving parts that companies and workers need to pay attention to. Here are some of the things you need to keep a close eye on when you begin to put together your remote workforce: