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The Past, the Present and the Future of Remote Work

In Tech
March 08, 2022
The Past, The Present And The Future Of Remote Work

The Covid-19 outbreak has come unexpectedly, disrupting every aspect of our life. It forced people to adjust quickly to newly established restrictions to stay safe and healthy amid the global health pandemic. 

The way we work, socialize and function in everyday life has changed irreversibly. When the head of Twitter issued a notice in May 2020 saying that everybody who’s able to work from home can do so even after the pandemic subsides, numerous business owners have had just one question:

Is this the end of office-based work as we know it?

Now, a year and a half later, the benefits that the remote work model offers to entrepreneurs and employees are obvious and indisputable. Fully distributed teams don’t want to go back to the office and relinquish the level of flexibility and autonomy that they’ve experienced while working remotely. At the same time, their employers want to avoid unnecessary costs of returning to the office. 

Judging from this, the future of remote work looks bright. But before we address this future, let’s take a look at the past and see how this work model has evolved over the years.

Remote Work History

A fully distributed work model that doesn’t require physical offices and can include employees from different parts of the world and time zones isn’t a new concept. According to MIT researchers’ findings, Hudson Bay Company employed remote workers 300 years ago, judging from the letter sent from their London-based headquarters to North American management in 1679.

Here, the London-based management informed their North American employees that they trusted the job would get done in the best interest of the company, even though they weren’t able to keep a close eye on the overseas employees and their actions.

However, the appearance of CompInc and Freelance Programmers companies that employed fully distributed teams in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s was a turning point for the fully remote work concept. It’s not surprising that both companies came from the IT sector requiring their workers to have a working phone at home and snail mail and write in codes.

Fast forward to the present days. A fast-paced technological development, accompanied by digital-savvy Millennials becoming the majority among the global workforce, has incited numerous businesses to follow the lead of these pioneers and embrace the fully distributed work model.

The Reasons for the Increasing Popularity of Remote Work

If you’re still on the fence about adopting fully remote work, here are several reasons why you should try running fully distributed teams.

First and foremost, the ability to choose when and how they can do their job may motivate your employees to be more productive while balancing out their work and personal life. But if you want to support your employees to stay highly productive and effective while working remotely, you need to create an optimal digital working environment, using advanced technological solutions. 

This said, you can rely on Google, Microsoft Office or Slack to ensure seamless communication with your remote teams while project management platforms like Asana or Trello will help you delegate specific tasks and projects, keeping track of the progress made. An efficient remote worker monitoring software may help you understand how your fully distributed teams use their time at work. 

You can create reports based on this detailed insight to recognize remarkable achievements and provide support to those who may struggle with their workload, making them more productive and time-efficient.

Besides numerous benefits for employees, the remote work model allows business owners to cut significant costs by cutting payments for renting and maintenance of physical office spaces. Besides, you’ll have access to the global talent pool, being able to hire the best candidates from any part of the world and any time zone.

What Does the Future Hold?

Even though many companies are jumping on the bandwagon choosing to run fully remote teams, this doesn’t mean that this should become a prevalent business model. 

This said, many employees find it hard to cope with a sense of isolation and loneliness they’ve experienced while working remotely. They craved in-person communication with their colleagues. 

The lack of social aspect and real-life collaboration between teams is a major downside of remote working. Luckily, a hybrid work model can be a wanted solution to this issue. This model allows employees to choose when they want to work from home and when they want to go to the office. 

By introducing the hybrid work, you’ll offer your teams the best of both worlds, increasing flexibility and encouraging social interaction and collaboration.