8 Predictions for the Future of Work

Katherine Boyarsky

Katherine Boyarsky | September 16, 2019

"Remote work is the future of work."

Entrepreneurs and business leaders like Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and Serena Williams' husband, predict the future of work is remote. With telecommuters increasing by 22% from 2017 to 2018 and 56% of global companies allowing remote work, Ohanian seems to have a point.

Competitive companies have realized remote work means employees are happier, more engaged, cost less, and have less turnover than traditional employees. Remote work also opens companies up to a larger talent pool and more time zones to offer 24/7 support.

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Here are predictions for the future of work considering what talent acquisition, talent retention, management structure, and more will look like in the coming years.

Plus, Rebecca Corliss, VP of Marketing at Owl Labs and remote work thought leader, will be featured in a webinar hosted by Zoom on Tuesday, September 24th. She'll discuss the top workplace trends that will dominate 2020 -- register for the webinar today!


1. Remote Work For All

Remote work provides opportunities for companies and employees alike. By eliminating barriers like job opportunities only being available in certain cities, commute and living expenses, childcare, and physically getting to an office, companies open the door to talent to which they otherwise wouldn't have had access to.

For employees, remote workers are happier, more engaged, and change jobs less frequently than those who work in traditional office environments. Working from home with pets and in a comfortable space can reduce stress and cortisol levels and allow for exercise and creativity.


2. Office-Less Companies

Technology has opened the door for digital nomads and telecommuters to be a part of a larger team with no limitations. Cloud storage, VPN, video conferencing platforms, and messaging apps have allowed for the modern workplace to exist outside of a physical office. Companies like Buffer, Basecamp, Automattic, Citrix, and more don't have a headquarters, instead, all of their employees work remotely.

Andy Clark of Commerceworks, a fully remote company, says, "We just pay for a virtual office which provides an address, a mailbox, and someone to answer the phone. If we need offices we hire them by the hour." This gives employees the flexibility to work from wherever they are, and it saves companies money since they don't need to rent or purchase physical office space.


3. Flexible Schedules and Flexible Employees

With the rise of remote work, companies are beginning to make a shift away from the traditional 9-to-5. In roles and departments where employees aren't bound by client schedules like marketers and software developers, teams can choose their own hours tailored to when they are the most productive. There will also be an increase in hiring temporary workers like freelancers and hourly workers to fill gaps and save money during busier seasons.


4. Nonhierarchical Leadership

Companies will continue a recent trend of challenging traditional business strategy norms, even down to team structure, favoring nonhierarchical leadership. Flat organizations reduce the amount of "red tape," and fewer levels of management need to be involved in decision making.


5. Soft Skills

The future of work will center on employees rather than just the bottom line, and soft skills will hold more weight in candidate searches. Soft skills like conflict management, stress management, company culture, emotional intelligence, and storytelling will give candidates a competitive advantage during the job search.


6. A Rise in Messaging Apps

Slack grew from 15,000 daily users at its launch in 2014 to 10 million daily users in January of this year. Their platform was a simple, free way for employees to connect despite their location.

With simple features like setting an away message to seeing a teammate's local time, Slack catered to its users' needs and grew organically. Many messaging apps include features like channels, groups, video chats, and calls to enable remote teams.


7. Rethinking Benefits

With millennials making up more than one-third of the workforce, companies are changing HR benefit packages to cater to the generation growing as leaders. Care@work predicts the top benefits that will attract top talent include working remotely, unlimited vacation policies, flexible schedules, frequent performance assessments, and professional growth and development opportunities.


8. Gig Economy

As of 2018, over 16.5 million Americans are a part of the "gig economy" or alternative working arrangements. The gig economy or task-based labor encompasses jobs like freelancing, rideshare drivers, and photographers. The gig economy is predicted to make up 43% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Hourly, freelance, task-based opportunities on sites like Upwork, Taskrabbit, and Fiverr offer options for nearly anyone to make extra money from anywhere in the world.

With these predictions in mind, consider how your company stacks up to the company of the future and how your skills will translate to the changing workplace. In order to attract top talent and keep employees engaged, companies will have to adapt quickly to the trends of fast-moving companies.

Do you have the benefits that you want or could have? Consider joining a hybrid team like ours here at Owl Labs.

And don't forget to register for the Top 10 Workplace Trends That Will Dominate 2020 webinar on Tuesday, September 24th. See you then!

Register for the Webinar -- Top 10 Workplace Trends That Will Dominate 2020