At the moment, the New Year is a blank page. It’s a time for new beginnings and fresh thinking. We can safely assume, however, that job flexibility will change over the course of 2017, ushering in all kinds of challenges and opportunities. It’s pretty much inevitable.
Just how do we know this?
Workforce researchers have predicted the expansion of telecommuting, along with a growing contingent of fully remote workers. Many large multinational companies, young startups, and even governmental organizations have begun embracing telework in one form or another.
One thing is clear: remote work is no longer a niche movement. In fact, we’re rapidly approaching a tipping point. Recent research indicates that by 2022, 60 percent of today’s office-bound employees are expected to be working remotely.
What should you know about the future of work? There are a number of emerging technologies, processes, and policies supporting this trend.
Here are five remote work predictions for 2017:
1. There will be greater widespread acceptance of remote work.
More than ever before, public and private organizations are showing an openness to remote work through creating or revising telecommuting policies, increasing flexible work options, and offering more inclusive parental leave programs.
As a result, employees are happier and more productive, and employers save money on overhead. Who wins in these scenarios? Everybody.
2. We’ll have smarter tools to make working from a distance easier.
Companies like Zapier are already developing integrations that enable our most-used apps to ‘talk’ to one another, automating otherwise tedious to-dos for remote workers.
This year, we’ll see even more feature enhancements and upgrades based on customers’ feedback, as SaaS companies in particular aim to secure market share among virtual organizations and their employees.
3. More cultures will embrace telecommuting.
Although face-to-face interaction is still preferred in many regions throughout the world, the concept of remote work as a legitimate way to do business is gaining broader reach.
Thanks to more robust communication technologies and the rise of coworking spaces among global work trends, in 2017 telecommuting will begin to penetrate regions where it has not previously been culturally supported.
4. The ‘pants-optional’ job will become mainstream.
Before companies like FlexJobs were founded, work-from-home jobs were synonymous with dead-end positions or online scams.
Workforce and industry have since shifted in a big way. In 2017, remote-only work will become a viable career path, with increasingly more managerial and C-level positions turning into location-independent roles. It’ll now be possible for new grads and those looking to move to different sectors to do so without ever stepping into a physical office.
5. Digital nomading will emerge as a business model.
As work from home becomes work from anywhere, numerous companies have cropped up to serve the wandering careerist set. Among them are co-living spaces like Roam and Outsite, and online communities such as NomadList.
Travel and lifestyle planning businesses like Remote Year and Teleport are also catering to globetrotting, on-the-go workers—many of whom aim to monetize their approach to work-life balance through blogging and digital courses.