Over the years, with the steady development of technology and how workspaces have changed, many employees have begun showing an interest in remote work. However, as a result, companies have become much stricter at handling Remote Job Interviews.

Gone are the days when basic technical proficiency was enough to help individuals land jobs. Nowadays, companies expect remote workers to have specific skills and be capable of following various frameworks to enhance the efficiency of remote work.

Remote work is not a trend, it’s here to stay as indicated by the survey from Buffer. With a new year ahead of us, let’s take a look back at 2019 and how remote work fared last year.

Remote work in 2019:

As mentioned, working remotely gained popularity alongside various technological advancements, but the changing attitude towards work has also contributed significantly. As an increased number of millennials and Gen Zers become part of the workforce, remote work evolved from being a luxury, some companies provided to something of a requirement.

Illustrating this point, PR Newswire noted that over 80% of US workers would turn down a job that doesn’t offer flexible working hours, that didn't allow telecommuting. Currently, 70% of professionals around the world work remotely at least once a week. Moreover, statistics show that in the US alone, 5.2 % of the workforce (8 million people) chose to work from home.

In short, the new generation of tech-savvy employees who put a lot of focus on productivity instead of rigid working hours, work-life balance, and reduced stress has become the face of the fresh "normal" work set-up, which is remote work.
Remote work's popularity can also be attributed to the benefits that it provides to both employees and employers. Aside from the obvious benefit of avoiding the hassle of going to an office resulting in no commute, saving time to spend with loved ones, no office politics, remote workers tend to be more productive than their counterparts.

A survey cited by Forbes found out that 77% of employees who work remotely (whether in part-time or full-time positions) reported being productive and even found themselves less likely to take time off since they can work even when ill. Also, they went on fewer leaves, as they can travel while working remotely, become a digital nomad, and also spend quality time with their families.

In fact, even when given perks like unlimited vacation time, 44% of remote workers only took two to three weeks off per year. The increase in productivity has also resulted in more money for remote workers, with about 24% of them reportedly earning as much as $100,000 a year – over three times the number of office workers who make the same amount.

The benefits of remote work to employers can also be seen in the reduction of both employee turnover and operational costs. An article by ZD Net noted that companies that allow flexible working hours or offer remote working options see 25% less employee turnover rate and also save money on infrastructure.

Comeet’s guide to calculating employee turnover rate shows that some of the reasons employees may reconsider their position includes long commutes, rigid schedules, and unsafe or hostile working environments – all of which can be addressed by merely offering the option to work remotely. Still, despite all of these benefits, companies have been rather slow in adopting this new trend.

Tech Crunch's article about remote work highlighted that around 44% of companies across the globe don't offer remote work at all, shocking. However, smaller companies are twice as likely to hire full-time remote workers because they cost less and come with increased productivity.

Allowing workers the option to telecommute saves employers more in the long run, as the lack of an office to maintain means not having to worry too much about electricity bills, rent, and expensive equipment. Saving money here, remote companies can offer better compensation to their employees, which in turn affects their work mindset and their productivity.

By 2028, it is suspected that 73% of all small business teams will have remote workers, and as a consequence, this year will see more employees switching to jobs that offer flexible working hours. After all, statistics on Fortunly have shown that remote work can reduce stress by 86% and increase the likelihood of being happy and productive.

As the workplace slowly but surely moves into the digital space and goes remote, and more and more companies start accepting the idea of flexible working hours, digital skills will be in demand. Thus, the talent pool will continue to expand, and employers will have more options when it comes to hiring talented workers who excel in working remotely.

The search for remote work employment will also become highly competitive as the likelihood of companies turning to the freelance marketplace increases, and more Gen Z individuals become part of the workforce after understanding the benefits of remote work.

Cybersecurity will take the spotlight as it is one of the most probing issues for remote workers. This year, we can expect to see companies implementing comprehensive cybersecurity policies and establishing the first layers of data security for both remote and in-house workers.

Technologies that can further improve remote work are also expected to emerge, especially those that are geared towards enhancing and streamlining communication and task management. Increased use of communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, and task management tools such as Trello, Todoist is also on the rise, breaking the barriers of remote work.

With people starting to steer away from the traditional 9-5 work in the office, cafes and co-working spaces will become even more popular, as well as small towns and rural areas that have high-speed broadband and affordable real estate.

Remote work is the future of work. Many companies are embracing remote work, because of the added benefits of greater productivity, less wasted time, and lower overhead firsthand. This has led to increased number of remote workers as well. Having a flexible schedule allows people to juggle between work, family and hobbies resulting in a positive work-life balance with less stress and more productivity.

Author Bio: Eleanor T. is an avid reader and writer who has been working from home for 3 years now. After trying out various part-time jobs in college and having a short experience of working in an office, she decided to become a freelance writer and take charge of her time. She enjoys writing about the experiences of being a remote worker and how people like her can attain career growth despite of working outside of a traditional office.