As 2022 Dawns, Upcoming Remote Work Issues Will Require Innovative Solutions

As 2022 Dawns, Upcoming Remote Work Issues Will Require Innovative Solutions

In 2022, remote work is going to continue. Thus far, workers and employers have proved that remote work is viable. The task at hand in 2022 is to ensure that remote work is sustainably optimised. 

The pandemic demolished the conventional model of work. In the two years of the global humanitarian crisis; remote work has become ubiquitous. As we enter its third year, remote work continues to generate divisive opinions. One thing is crystal – no one has quite figured out how to optimise it yet. It is true that numerous organisations implement remote work policies. However, how it will manifest in the long-term remains to be a question. Many things remain in uncharted territory – whether employers can fine-tune their employees in adapting to remote work sustainably such that employees take to remote work like it is their second nature, and if organisational goals can be effectively met. 

The most powerful lesson that companies have learned is that employees’ location and presenteeism do not matter – good work is being delivered by remote workers. With this lesson, we can begin to identify key areas of remote work and work hard to improve them to achieve seamless, streamlined, receptive, and evolving remote work processes. Let’s start by looking at the five key areas of remote work which are predicted to emerge as issues in 2022 and the upcoming years. 

Gender equality – progressively bringing and retaining women workers 

It is a fact that women are more attracted to remote jobs due to better work-life balance (WLB). It can be called a “boon.” However, it is not without its drawbacks. “Women do not only work-from-home – women also work-for-home.” Most of the work which involves keeping the household organised, functional, and liveable falls on women’s shoulders. On top of that, the likelihood of women being overlooked when it comes to career advancement is higher – remote work may exacerbate the likelihood. 

Therefore, the challenge for 2022 and beyond is to provide equal opportunity given for women remote workers with WLB to be extended in greater ways to men. Apart from that, female workers, who opted to work remotely and those working in the offices, need to be treated equally. The focus should be on their output, rather than on how many hours they spend at their home workstation or office. 

Defining “remote”, “flexible”, and “hybrid” work clearly 

Remote flexible, and hybrid work are interlinked but are not interchangeable. The following are their simple definitions: 

  • Remote work is work that is done from anywhere but a designated, physical workplace. 
  • Flexible work is a work model that offers employees freedom in the “how and when” they work. 
  • Hybrid work is work that is split between working remotely and a designated, physical workplace. 

Going forward in 2022, the motive of employees won’t be driven by salary alone. When looking for and accepting remote jobs, a lot of factors concerning work will be considered.  This is why in 2022, employers need to be very clear about the job conditions that they offer. Businesses cannot issue ads offering flexible work when they want their employees to clock in from 9 .00am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Clarity is the best policy!

Trusting remote workers 

There are tools to monitor remote workers, which can sometimes be intrusive.  

Workers opt for remote work because of the freedom and flexibility which it offers in the first place. The use of monitoring applications negates the freedom and flexibility promised to remote workers. 

The stake here is, employees want to perform at their peak and be trusted that they can do so independently. Imposing such borderline spying apps can disrupt employer-employee relationships, causing employees to look for opportunities elsewhere. 

As we head into 2022, balancing direction and autonomy in the remote-working sphere becomes imperative. The time is ripe to get creative as we go about this management challenge that satisfies the needs of both the employers and their remote workers. 

Debates about salary and overhead 

On what basis do you pay your employees? According to value or location? In the intricate conversations regarding remote work, this question seem to have touched a raw nerve.   

For example, a web developer’s salary in New York will be higher than it will be in a rural town. The question is, should the salary change if the developer moves to a rural town?  

Many argue that since remote workers don’t have to spend money to commute to the workplace and endure pricey living costs, it is expedient if they are paid less. An objection to this view is that remote work benefits employers by cutting administrative and utility cost. Some remote workers spend on high-quality computers and gadgets and fast internet connection to be able to work properly.  

In 2022 and beyond, adjustments will become the buzzword of this status quo. Employers will consider how remote work enabled their business operations to be cost-effective and compensate by the virtue of their prosperity. Employees may willingly accept lower salaries if it’s in exchange for more freedom in their way of work and whereabouts. 

The perils of living where you work 

There is no denying the benefits of working from home. At the same time, there are negative outcomes when we work, eat, and sleep at our workplace.  

Your availability at work grows manifold. You might answer work-related calls in the bathroom and send work emails outside of your duty hours.  

An article titled, “Remote workers now say email fatigue and notifications are worse than commuting,” expounds the burnout and anxiety afflicting remote work.  

For long-term and sustainable remote work, it is necessary to draw a distinctive line between personal and professional life. “Right to disconnect” policies that disallow employers to connect with their employees after work hours are already being discussed. 

The road ahead for remote work is filled with both potentials and new challenges. It is up to us to come up with innovative and workable ways to tackle the challenges and create more potential that is all-encompassing. 

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