Virtual Work Trends that will Shape the Future

How and where we work has changed dramatically. Virtual workplaces, supported by technology and innovation, continue to increase in importance and desirability as shown by the most recent remote working statistics:

  • 73% of departments are expected to have remote workers by 2028.
  • 86% of workers feel that remote work reduces stress.
  • Companies that embrace remote work have 25% less employee turnover than those who don’t.
  • Working from home and remote locations has grown 159% since 2005, more than 11x faster than the rest of the workforce.
  • And 37% of remote employees would take a 10% pay cut to continue working from home.

Flexible working arrangements and virtual work trends will only continue to grow and evolve. Here are three virtual work trends that will shape the future.

1. Humanizing the virtual workplace

A frightening new reality is taking hold in business. While in some ways working remotely can reduce stress, in other ways it affects how connected workers feel with their colleagues. Ever increasing numbers of employees in virtual workplaces report feeling isolated, demotivated, and disengaged from their teams. It’s crucial for leaders to remedy this situation to keep their high-performance teams operating effectively. The solution is to bring more humanity and connectedness to the virtual work environment.

We’ve identified four essential practices that enable leaders to create connected, compassionate, and high-performance teams: Presence, Empathy, Awareness, and Action. Putting these practices into action has proven to be highly effective in humanizing the workplace and elevating the satisfaction levels of remote workers. Virtual work can enable remote workers to build a different type of connection with their colleagues – one that is more personal in several ways.

“While all four practices are essential, empathy is a good example of how thinking differently about something can have a significant impact for leaders,” explains Claire Sookman, Virtual Team Builders CEO. “As a leader, you want to be able to empathize with the people you’re managing, while also trying to read the people you report to. We call this bi-directional empathy and developing these skills will help you effectively connect with your team members and manage downward while also recognizing and relating to what’s going on above you.”

2. Managing the well-being of employees

Leaders are seeing how the various stresses of working remotely can affect the mental health and well-being of their team members. Knowing how to support employees in their personal lives will take on new importance in the virtual workplaces.

According to Gartner’s 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey, when employers support employees with their life experience 23% more employees report better mental health. These employers also see a 21% increase in the number of high performers vs. organizations that don’t provide the same support to their employees. Supporting the well-being of your team members can improve their quality of life, help them better manage the challenges of working remotely, and enable them to perform better at work.

3. Improving operational effectiveness

Managing a team in a virtual workplace brings its own set of challenges. These can include issues around communication, tracking performance and productivity, conveying company culture and values, building, and maintaining trust, and balancing the needs of in-office employees with remote ones.

For some leaders, determining how to work effectively with their virtual teams without micromanaging is a major challenge. For companies with both in-office and virtual workers, their leaders may need to find ways to create a successfully blended working environment where employees don’t feel out of the loop or disconnected from their peers. It’s important for leaders to maintain a balance between the in-office and virtual workers so that one group doesn’t feel they’re getting preferential treatment over the other.

Some organizations may be questioning how to evolve their traditional in-office culture to align with the realities of the virtual workplace. As a leader you can increase your team’s productivity and engagement by improving operational aspects of the remote work environment.

Is your organization ready for this future? Schedule a complimentary virtual team performance survey with Virtual Team Builders today and find out!