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Remote Work: What is the Outlook During and After the Pandemic?
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Remote Work: What is the Outlook During and After the Pandemic?

Capa de artigo: Trabalho remoto

Having a remote job is probably the dream of many people. Attending meetings and getting work done from home or anywhere else that is not an office is a reason for pure delight.

After the pandemic hit, companies had to adapt and find a way to keep the work flowing while everyone was isolated at home.

Now, what are the trends for work models in the post-pandemic future? Keep reading to know more!

The pre-pandemic remote work

The advance and development of new technologies, work relationships, and different mindsets were already impacting work models before COVID.

In this regard, remote work was already a reality for many people, even before 2020 and the pandemic.

Many companies already had Home Office policies to provide their employees with more flexibility and better life quality.

In addition, tools like Slack, Teams, Zoom, and Skype were already used for remote collaboration between people and teams; and about 70% of the world's workers already worked remotely at least once a week.

This adaptation of companies is also a reflection of people's desires and perspectives. In a study by Buffer, 98% of respondents said they would like to work outside the office at least once in their career.

Buffer Research on Remote Work
Source: Buffer

Remote work conditions were already getting more attention due to the technologies available and also as a cultural reflection of our concern with well-being, mental health, and overall life quality.

It was just a matter of time before this work model gained strength and could be seen as something normal.

In this sense, the pandemic has accelerated the transition from onsite work to remote work.

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The pandemic and the necessary changes in companies

If the adaptation to remote work was only a matter of time, 2020 cut that race short.

As social distancing is one of the effective weapons in the fight against COVID, companies now have to adapt way more quickly to this new scenario.

Technologies updates that companies used to take years to establish were now being executed in a matter of weeks.

In fact, a study by the consulting firm McKinsey reported the speed of these transformations:

McKinsey research on changes due to pandemic
Source: McKinsey

In the chart above, we can see that the fastest transformation is related to remote work.

What was once expected to happen in 454 days has now happened in just 10!

Moreover, these changes are not temporary. The same McKinsey study revealed that the responding companies believe that major transformations are here to stay.

The acceleration of digitization - Mckinsey Research
Source: McKinsey

Regarding changes in remote work, 54% of respondents said they believe this transformation will be permanent.

Before the pandemic, remote work was an idea that still raised doubts and needed to be strengthened, but this mentality has changed.

Companies were able to see that remote work is possible, that it can save costs, and that it is worth introducing it permanently as an option for their employees.

Remote work is a trend for the future

The post-pandemic remote work trend is very promising. This troubled period has provided a new outlook on the way we do things, both from the point of view of companies and employees.

Although it is not yet certain when the world will return to "normal," many companies are already saying they will permanently allocate part of their workforce to remote work.

In a survey done by Gartner, it showed some interesting results:

  • 74% of CFOs and finance leaders plan to allocate 5% of their workforce to remote work;
  • 25% of the survey respondents plan to allocate 10% of their employees to this modality;
  • 4% of respondents say they will allocate 50% of their employees to work remotely.

In addition, a study conducted by Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) showed that CEOs were looking optimistically at the outlook for business in 2021.

According to the survey, companies planned to increase their technology budget given the success of remote working during the pandemic.

The prospect was that the number of people working remotely would double by 2021.

Thus, remote work will gain more momentum and become a common work model in companies' offers.

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Companies that have already announced permanent remote work

Even before the pandemic was over, several companies announced that they had adopted remote work as a long-term treatment for employees.

Most of these organizations are large companies, and this move is essential to push smaller companies to adopt these new changes as well.

  • Microsoft;
  • Indeed;
  • Google;
  • American Express;
  • Airbnb;
  • Zillow;
  • Twitter.

The above companies have either prologued remote work to fit the pandemic prospects or announced that employees could work from home permanently.

Advantages and challenges of remote work

Advantages and challenges of remote work

Remote working is more than just a change in a company's processes. It represents a cultural change.

In this regard, remote work can have great advantages and many challenges to overcome.

A few advantages we can mention:

  • Increase in productivity: according to a Stanford study, remote work can increase employee productivity by up to 13%;
  • Cost reduction: both for the employee and for the company. If, on the one hand, people no longer spend on gasoline, expensive meals, and clothes, the company also reduces expenses with rent, electricity, water, etc.
  • Stress reduction: work flexibility promotes an improvement in the quality of life and, consequently, a reduction in stress;
  • Flexible working hours;
  • Better job opportunities: both for professionals who can apply for jobs in other cities or countries and for companies that are no longer limited to the region of their physical office.

On the other hand, working remotely has some obstacles, such as:

  • Disconnect: the possibility of working from home masks working hours limits. It is quite common for people to work beyond the hours they would do inside their companies, for example;
  • Loneliness: remote work means no longer socializing with coworkers. Of course, this is not a pandemic situation, but it also applies to the crisis moment in which we live;
  • Distractions: especially if there are children or other people in the same place as the work. This can end up hindering the employee's focus.

Additional challenges in the midst of the pandemic

Additional challenges in the midst of the pandemic - remote work

The advantages and obstacles listed above are general factors considering a "normal" or post-pandemic environment.

However, as seen at the beginning of this article, this transformation did not happen naturally. They were accelerated because of the Covid-19 crisis. So, it's important to point out that this factor can bring some setbacks.

Lack of preparation and structure

Because of the need to adapt quickly to the pandemic, many companies that had yet to plan to implement remote work ended up forcing themselves to do so.

As a result, some improvements still have to occur regarding policies, rules, protocols, and tools.

Therefore, companies must understand these gaps and improve their processes to enhance the employee experience in remote work.

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The stressful context of the pandemic

The uncertainties brought on by Covid-19 affected our mental health.

The fear of illness, instabilities, and losing loved ones makes remote work difficult.

We are not living in a normal moment for the Home Office, which needs to be understood by both the companies and the people.

Above all, it is important to put the employees' mental health first and check if they are comfortable with the work and how the company can help reduce possible stress.

Beware of the Hype

Working remotely may, at first glance, sound amazing.

The thought, of course, could not be different: more quality of life, productivity, and flexibility. It has everything to make it work!

It is certainly true that all of these factors are enhanced with remote work. We have seen several studies so far that prove this.

However, Robin Dunbar – Professor Emeritus of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University – warns against the Remote Working Hype.

In an interview with the BBC, Dunbar shows his concern about this euphoria with remote working.

He comments that the work environment is an important social phenomenon. Coffee breaks, socializing, and face-to-face meetings are essential to keep the work flowing.

In addition, Robin points out the situation of people who leave their homes and cities and go to another location without knowing people or having friends. In these cases, the work environment is essential for people to create bonds, connections, and friendships. Many people make deep friendships that come from work.

So it's important to be careful because remote work brings many advantages and opportunities. But there is also the darker, more sensitive side of the subject.

Dunbar's comments should not cause companies or people to give up on working remotely. But they should create awareness that there are things that can be lost if they are not handled in the right way.

Interesting opportunities for UX Design

So far, remote work has become a reality, and the pandemic accelerated the changes. Companies are considering implementing remote work permanently, and workers have many advantages with this work model.

But is this information favorable for the UX Design market?

They certainly are!

The fact that companies are making room for remote work allows hiring without geographical limits.

In this sense, UX Designers have more opportunities to get a job in another city, region, or country without having to relocate.

In addition, the pandemic has unfolded other digital needs far beyond remote work. Thus, companies need UX designers and Product Designers more than ever, as companies must adapt to new user needs and behaviors.

What changes made during the pandemic will remain - McKinsey Research
Source: McKinsey

Additionally, Mark Campbell – consultant at Morgan McKinley – believes that the trend for the future is an increase in remote opportunities for UX Design. Campbell encourages designers to work on their portfolios and network to strengthen themselves as candidates.

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Remote Opportunities for UX Design

If we run a quick search on LinkedIn, we can see several remote UX design opportunities:

Oportunidades de trabalho remoto - Pesquisa LinkedIn
Oportunidades de trabalho remoto pt 2
Oportunidades de trabalho remoto pt 3

We find not only national opportunities but also in other countries.

So, despite the pandemic and the crisis we live in, UX Design opportunities have not diminished. On the contrary, job openings keep rising due to the digital transformation in companies and the adoption of remote work.

Therefore, what we can expect in the future is an increase in the supply of job opportunities for UX Design complemented by an increase in remote opportunities.

In this respect, we believe the UX Design market will continue to grow.

And if you want to pivot to UX but don't know where to start, take a look at our Master Interface Design Bootcamp course. It’s a fully online course that teaches you everything about UX from scratch.

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