Remote work is no longer the temporary arrangement that many people expected it to be when the pandemic began. It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future, and companies must adapt by embracing remote work trends that will keep their workers productive and happy — whether they are in the office working on remote desktops part of the time or not at all.
With that need in mind, here’s a list of the top remote-work trends for 2021 that companies should consider as they prepare for a future in which significant numbers of employees work remotely on a permanent basis.
Optimizing the remote-employee experience
When remote work seemed like a temporary arrangement, most companies put relatively little thought into the employee experience, meaning how employees thought and felt about working from home.
They didn’t invest in collaboration technologies, such as remote desktops, that would help employees feel connected to the rest of the organization while working in isolation. Nor did most companies deploy tools that provide a frustration-free experience for connecting to IT resources from out of the office. At best, they gave their employees software like a Windows RDP client so they could log into their company workstations from home.
As it has become clear that many employees will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, companies have begun investing more heavily in activities like virtual coffee breaks, which can help employees collaborate and engage with each other. They have also implemented more user-friendly technologies, such as cloud remote desktop servers, which make it easier for employees to access the applications and data they need to do their jobs, no matter where they are located.
Securing remote IT assets
A number of new security challenges emerge when workers are connecting remotely on Windows Remote Desktops. Networks become more difficult to secure because they need to support users and devices connecting from beyond the firewall. Data is at higher risk of being downloaded by employees to local devices that are not physically secure. Even phishing emails can be harder to detect.
Indeed, according to one study, 20 percent of organizations have suffered a security breach since the start of the pandemic that was facilitated by remote workers.
This means that, going forward, it will become critical to secure the remote desktop infrastructure and software that employees use to work remotely. Centralizing desktop environments in the cloud is one way to do this. When workstations run virtually inside secure cloud environments, data and applications never have to leave the cloud, which significantly reduces exposure to potential attack.
Supporting peripheral devices
When employees work remotely temporarily, being able to connect their company-owned IT environments to devices like printers and scanners is not usually a top priority. They can wait until they’re back in the office to print documents. Or they can print a few on their personal equipment at home.
But when employees work remotely regularly, these ad hoc approaches don’t work. Workers need a seamless way to integrate devices in their at-home work environment with in-office servers, file shares and other resources their company owns.
This can be done, but it requires solutions tailored-made for this purpose. As companies prepare to support remote workers permanently, factoring in the need to integrate with peripheral devices will be a priority.
Maintaining IT hardware
Keeping IT hardware up and running also becomes more challenging when remote work is permanent. Employees may be able to get by with laptops that need maintenance when they’re working from home temporarily. But when they rarely or never go into the office, providing support for physical hardware is much more difficult.
One way to cope with this challenge is to minimize the amount of physical hardware that companies need to maintain. Here again, cloud desktops can help by allowing organizations to provide employees with a complete remote desktop environment that they can access from anywhere using their own hardware. And because the only resource required to log into the cloud desktop is a Web browser, there is no special hardware or software that the company needs to deploy and maintain on employees’ personal devices to keep them productive.
Keeping costs in check
The cost of supplying remote workers with the equipment they need to work effectively from anywhere can rise quickly, especially if companies try to recreate the IT infrastructure of the office within each employee’s home. When they do that, employees sometimes require high-powered desktops or laptops, routers and perhaps even UPS units to keep their devices running.
A simpler — and less costly — approach is to host desktop environments in the cloud, which don’t fail when the power goes off or the router goes down, and which can be configured to provide whichever resource allocations employees need. When employees are assigned cloud desktops, they can access their workstations from any location and device, without depending on special (or expensive) equipment.
Facts about Remote Working
Here are some interesting facts about remote working:
Workplace autonomy is highly preferable among job seekers
For some employees, working remotely and sharing files via remote desktops has been a blessing in disguise. In fact, a study reveals that workplace flexibility is the primary reason behind employees accepting new jobs.
Therefore, businesses must remember that when candidates decide between job offers with similar payrolls, the scales tilt more toward the one that allows for flexible working.
Remote working benefits the ecology
Logging into windows desktop servers to collaborate with colleagues can lead to significant environmental sustainability gains. Remote working remarkably shrinks the need for a regular commute as employees can simply work on projects through remote desktops. For instance, home working four days/week could trim nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions by about a tenth.
The love for remote working will continue
Remote working has become the new normal, and as things settle down, employees have built new habits and preferences. Not only is “work from anywhere” popular, but several employees want to remain location independent for most of the work week.
About 9 out of 10 employees opt for accessing remote desktop servers from their homes, opines a survey. Of them, 45% prefer functioning in a fully remote work setting, while a slightly lesser percentage choose the hybrid work model.
Conclusion: Keeping remote employees productive and happy
If 2020 introduced many employees to remote work for the first time, 2021 is the year when companies realized that remote work would continue indefinitely for many of their employees. To thrive in this environment, organizations must provide employees with the tools they need to work efficiently from anywhere, while also addressing the security and cost challenges associated with remote work.
What are the most in-demand remote jobs?
These remote jobs will see drastic demand in 2022 and beyond:
- Digital marketer: Build brand awareness and generate leads using organizations’ websites and social media platforms
- Web/software developer: Plan and develop device- and browser-friendly websites and applications
- Data scientist: Extract meaningful insights from data using advanced analytics methods, including predictive modeling and machine learning (ML), and help enhance decision-making
- UX designer: Make products or services that fulfill businesses’ needs and boost overall user experience
- Cybersecurity analyst: Safeguard mission-critical resources, such as data, systems, and servers, from malicious online attacks
What is the trend of working from home?
When COVID-19 prompted sudden workplace shutdowns, organizations slipped into the spontaneous experiment of working from home. Cut to the present, companies have established new working protocols that acknowledge flexible work as a lingering aspect of the modern working realm instead of a temporary pandemic response.
Offering employees the option to work from home helps businesses achieve economies of scale. Inflation reaching new highs means a gradual rise in the cost of goods and services. Hence, encouraging location-neutral workforces is a win-win for both employers and employees.
Further, remote work helps companies looking to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) achieve a truly diverse and global workforce.
Which field has the most remote jobs?
At present, technology-related companies are offering the highest number of remote working opportunities. Tech workforces already had the infrastructure and skills to switch to remote work when COVID-19 struck worldwide. Moreover, ongoing advances in remote desktop as a service (DaaS) are encouraging companies to connect to their employees, no matter where they are.
Within the technology industry, cloud engineers, database architects, and salesforce developers represent a major portion of the remote workforce. Eliminating geographical curbs on human capital – and thus optimizing its productivity – will help organizations capture the value at stake.
The healthcare and education sectors also are catching up when it comes to expanding remote workforces.
Is remote working the future of work?
Remote working is an incredible option if companies allow it; however, it does not necessarily suit everybody. The pandemic-spurred work protocol poses two oft-cited concerns questioning its effectiveness. First is the lack of the close-knit environment that traditional workplaces offer. The other is the potential productivity slump as employees have to juggle distractions throughout the working hours.
Given these reasons, several C-level executives reckon that returning to office cubicles makes employees more efficient, eliminates communication loopholes, and promotes a more positive work setting.
As businesses unfold the future of work, the answer lies in hybrid work, where employees can live across regions but participate in face-to-face activities on a semi-normal basis.
What is the highest-paying remote job?
Product managers follow software engineers in terms of highest-paying remote jobs. The primary credit for their high demand goes to the rise in multiple digital product and project development journeys. In addition, product managers manage the entire development workflow: building strategies, creating blueprints, and researching the markets.
Can remote working replace offices?
Remote working, no doubt, brings scads of benefits with them. As people access their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, they can collaborate with their colleagues through video-conferencing tools and complete their work from home itself.
Earlier, even for brief catch-ups or menial tasks which are doable on any Internet-enabled device, people had to travel to their workplaces. However, with better technology at their disposal, including cloud desktop services, they have the luxury to complete tasks from home.
Nevertheless, remote working cannot replace traditional offices. The emerging work culture gels well only with industries, including technology, marketing, and human resources. On the other side, in jobs where doing field work and networking with others is essential – government, real estate, and automobile – remote working can never replace physical offices.