Is remote work the new normal for businesses? 

  • young male remote worker
Published on 2024-04-15 at 14:00 by Asaël Häzaq
The way we work is undergoing a dramatic shift. What if the traditional office space becomes a relic of the past? What if the geographical location is no longer a barrier to recruiting top talent? Businesses embracing the remote working trend are seeing many benefits, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining foreign professionals.

Reduced costs

Gone are the office days. In today's world of ever-increasing rent prices, eliminating the need for a physical office offers significant savings for businesses. This is often one of the first benefits companies consider. While some national regulations may require employers to contribute to the purchase of professional equipment for remote workers, the overall financial picture is clear. Keeping employees spread out is often more cost-effective for companies going fully remote than bringing everyone together in a central office. The savings extend beyond rent and trickle down to other expenses: no need for cleaning services, equipment maintenance, office supplies (water, coffee, snacks), and more.

Attracting top foreign talent

The ability to attract the best and brightest professionals without visa restrictions is another significant advantage of remote work. Whether relocating within their own country or across borders, these remote workers bring valuable skills and experience to the company. This is particularly true in sectors where remote work is well-suited, such as the IT industry. These sectors, constantly seeking foreign talent, are implementing numerous initiatives to attract the best. Competitive salary is just one factor; the work environment and associated benefits also play a crucial role in a candidate's decision. The flexibility of remote work is a major advantage in this regard. Foreign talent can choose to live wherever they like, with Canada remaining a popular destination for expats. The United States, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Qatar, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia are also attracting a growing number of foreign workers.

Increased productivity

A recent study by Localyze, an agency specializing in supporting remote work for foreign talent, found that 78% of surveyed companies reported increased productivity among their remote employees. The study noted that these remote workers not only performed better but also, contrary to some findings, exhibited a stronger sense of loyalty to the company. Additionally, 66% of companies observed personal growth among their remote staff. These two aspects, increased work productivity and improved personal well-being, can be attributed to the advantages of remote work. Without a daily commute, the company, in a sense, comes to the employee. This time saved translates to a more efficient workday from the very beginning. Remote employees also have greater flexibility in managing their schedules.

While some studies warn about potential drawbacks like disengagement, the Localyze report highlights the positive impact of integrating work life with the employee's schedule. This flexible integration allows for greater employee autonomy, leading to increased engagement and loyalty to the company. Remote workers tend to be more accountable and take greater ownership of their work. The trust placed in them fosters a sense of responsibility and loyalty towards their employer.

Boosting creativity

One might initially question the connection between remote work and creativity. However, creativity is at the heart of the remote work trend. Planning, organizing, and implementing successful cross-border collaboration requires a high degree of creativity. Companies must determine common languages for communication among geographically dispersed employees, establish effective meeting formats, develop efficient workflow processes, and address issues like digital overload associated with remote work. The question of fostering team spirit also arises – do employees need to know all their colleagues, or just those working in the same field or geographical region?

These are questions not only for companies but also for their employees. Remote work necessitates a new approach to work. Remote workers take on more responsibility and consequently feel more responsible. The feeling of trust from the employer is also crucial. The risk of absenteeism or disengagement is mitigated by remote workers managing their own schedules and cultivating their relationships with the company. This sense of ownership allows them to be more innovative, not only in their specific tasks but also in their overall approach to work. This spirit of innovation ultimately benefits the company.

Could remote work be the future of work?

Imagine a future without offices, fixed working hours, or coffee breaks with colleagues. In the age of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital communication, companies might embrace this trend and eliminate what some consider "superfluous." However, the definition of "superfluous" needs to be carefully considered. The benefits of a dematerialized work environment will likely be more pronounced in sectors that can easily function without a physical office. Remote work is less feasible for industries like car manufacturing, bakeries, or hair salons. Interestingly, even sectors well-suited to remote work sometimes advocate for bringing employees back to the office. Does this represent a reversal of the trend? A step backward?

There's no single right answer, and various systems can coexist. The idea of a borderless company touted as the only future model might need to wait. While the advantages of remote work are undeniable, some limitations prevent its universal adoption across all industries.

Some emphasize the value of physical collaboration, arguing that video calls are no substitute for in-person interaction and brainstorming sessions. Traditional coffee breaks, seen as opportunities for socializing and fostering a sense of community, are also valued by some.

Proponents of remote work argue for alternative forms of social interaction, perhaps less with colleagues but more with acquaintances outside the workplace. They believe this fosters a sense of recognition and belonging towards the company, especially when combined with the increased personal time remote work affords, leading to potentially higher productivity.

The future of work is likely to be a hybrid model, with companies adopting a flexible approach that caters to the specific needs of their business and employees. Some tasks may be well-suited for remote work, while others may require in-person collaboration. Companies that can successfully navigate this new landscape and leverage the advantages of both remote and traditional work environments will be well-positioned for success in the years to come.