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Exploring the Future of Work

Exploring the Future of Work

/ Strategy, People, Hiring, Workplace Environment, Remote Work, Operations
Exploring the Future of Work

Why hybrid/remote including gig working is becoming the new norm.

The day arrived. I crossed the stage and received my high school diploma. I was top of my class, I had some scholarships, and was ready to set out into the intrepid world to do amazing things.

At that moment I grew sad. Not because seasons were changing in life for me or because the high school experience and friends were all moving into new adventures. Sad because I knew I would never live in my hometown again.

It was all driven by one thing – I loved tech, but there were simply no tech jobs within an hour of my hometown and the few jobs available that existed at the time were not super interesting to me. I became determined that one day I will do something about this and give kids like me choice.

I knew I would go to college and have a fun experience, which I did. After college I knew I would need to wander out and live in one of the tech hubs around the world to achieve my dream of leading a tech company one day.

Fast forward to my first job post-college, which was at Microsoft in Seattle. I remember the excitement, the thrill, and honor to get the opportunity to work at such a prestigious company.

I loved working for Microsoft and being surrounded by so many smart and intelligent people working in tech. It was a dream.

As my career progressed, I worked for Monster.com in Boston and India, and Microsoft again, this time in London. Then I decided to go to the tech mecca in San Francisco. There, I worked for startup companies like Postmates, Kabam, and Forte.

I realized after many years of working in tech hubs and moving around the world, that not everyone could travel around like I did or even wanted to do that: despite having the desire and skills to excel in the tech industry.

Remembering the Dream

I remembered the dream I had at graduation to open up new doors for people in all communities to get into the tech industry, so I set out to do just that with Officium Labs.

Along with my co-founder Scott McCabe, we decided to do something different than what other industries were doing at the time. We wanted to put tech jobs in every local community. We wanted to give the graduates in my high school and every high school the choice to live where they wanted to live and work where they wanted to work.

So that’s what we did. In 2019, we started a completely remote tech service company that had a global reach.

Our approach solved a lot of the pre-COVID-19 pandemic challenges for businesses including talent pool shortages, attrition issues, rising costs in tech hubs, and being isolated to compete with the same companies for talent.

Our approach was also very beneficial to the workers. They had enormous flexibility with their schedules, were able to balance home and work life better, had access to better paying opportunities, and avoided hours of their life in a commute. We found for our industry in tech services it was a win-win.

People want to spend more time with their families, have more purposeful and interesting work, get paid composite to the value they bring, and live where they want to live.

Soon after we started our business the pandemic hit and what was fresh, revolutionary, and interesting in our business model became a necessity for businesses to stay alive, compete, and grow in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we started to scale, we recognized the opportunity to greater success for the talent and client was to increase the reach and size of both.

After consideration of a few different options, we found a larger company in the U.S. that mirrored our vision and plan for the remote work future - Arise. They had strength in platform, verticals we didn’t play in, and had been doing remote work for 25-plus years. We had an international footprint and were experts in areas they wanted to invest in: gaming and consulting.

The match was a perfect fit for us to scale our vision on remote work and connect the talent with clients that could gain value from their service.

What Does the Future Hold for Workers?

Now as we begin to see post-pandemic life emerging, many people do not want to go back to the old way of working. They want to be part of the Future of Work, which provides workers with the choice of either remote, in-office, or hybrid.

This is especially true for customer service. Due to the advancements in connectivity, collaboration, and computing, a large number of customer service jobs can be done remotely today. Often with CRM software improvements, we see workers not only working remotely, but on the go using their mobile devices.

People want to spend more time with their families, have more purposeful and interesting work, get paid composite to the value they bring, and live where they want to live.

Additionally, we find that people find remote work less stressful and less dangerous due to massive commutes and risk of car accidents on commutes. As well as they find that by using their vehicle less, they are contributing to a better environment and focusing on being greener.

For customer service workers, working remotely actually helps them put the money they would have wasted on a commute towards more meaningful family or home items, improving their overall quality of life.

Since the pandemic necessitated the need for remote work, people have seen the success and efficiency of working remotely.

Not only is remote work beneficial to the worker, but it also benefits the company. Previously, companies were dependent on the immediate location of the worker in relation to their store or business. Now, companies can hire from anywhere in the world, which means they have a greater chance of finding the right candidate for the position, rather than finding a candidate that can commute.

Additionally, people enjoy working remotely. According to a study I conducted that surveyed 1,000 people across the U.S. and Canada, 61% expressed positive feelings about remote work. Only 12% reported that they preferred on-site work.

Source: Arise Virtual Solutions

While some companies embrace remote or hybrid work cultures, we are seeing companies push back, eager to have their employees return to work full-time and in person.

As a result, we are beginning to see the value in remote work job opportunities increase. As more people feel that they are not being heard or valued by these companies, they have - and will continue - to look elsewhere for employment.

Gig economies, markets that rely heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers, are likely to grow as well as people decide what kind of lives they want to live.

It is no longer possible for everyone to simply go to college, get a good job, buy a house, have a family and retire at 65.

Source: Arise Virtual Solutions

The reality is that people have to work harder or more creatively to make ends meet. As a result, 31% of those we surveyed have participated in gig economies.

Gig economies are a growing phenomenon that show peoples’ values are changing, particularly among the younger generations. Younger people value life-work balance, want to be respected by their employers: and see the value in remote work.

As time goes on and more Gen Z individuals enter the workforce, it is possible that a lot of companies fail to evolve to what younger people want: remote work opportunities that allow for flexibility so their employees can focus on other ventures.

Source: Arise Virtual Solutions

The next few years will be interesting to see how the world evolves to this new norm and how companies and workers maximize their positions of strength for both to get value from the relationship they have together.

The reality is people want more flexibility from their work, and the data to support this sentiment is plentiful.

A Forbes article highlighted a study that found that the ability to work remotely increases employee happiness by as much as 20% and that millennials are happiest when working remotely. Another study from Slack found that 72% of workers surveyed wanted a hybrid choice.

Alongside cultural attitudes towards hybrid and remote work culture, advancements in technology are also causing work culture to shift to a more remote and digitized environment.

It is amazing to see how fast the pandemic catapulted the adoption of collaboration technologies like Teams, Zoom, Slack, and the like. Additionally, we were able to see how quickly companies could adapt to a new world overnight, which created new agility muscles for companies across the world.

The world has found a new way to work, be productive, communicate, and succeed.

Younger people value life-work balance, want to be respected by their employers: and see the value in remote work.

However, now that we are transitioning to a post-pandemic world, we are seeing more companies push for their employees to go back into the office full-time on a mandatory basis, despite overwhelming worker sentiment wanting to incorporate hybrid or remote options.

This shows that there is a major disconnect between worker and employer. Companies that are mandating their employees to go back into the office are losing out on current or potential employees.

64%, or two-thirds, of the workforce would consider looking for a new job if they were required to return to the office full time, especially younger generations, according to the ADP Research Institute.

Additionally, that same study reported Gen Z workers as being the most reluctant to return to the workplace full-time. It also showed that 52% of the workers surveyed said that they would be willing to accept a pay cut if it came to it if it meant more flexibility or a hybrid approach to work location.

When company leaders fail to consider what the majority of workers want, it can cause that company itself to fail. People won’t work for companies that do not listen to their voices and concerns, especially when thousands of remote and hybrid options are available that do listen to their team.

The Vision: Global Remote Teams

As the world will remain globalized for the foreseeable future, it is pragmatic for companies that have global teams to prioritize remote work.

Instead of opening offices at strategic geographic locations for the sole purpose of employee acquisition and company growth, companies can operate remotely and connect to their team around the world.

Remote work allows teams to hold meetings at off-office hours as well, if they find that to work in their favor, which can increase efficiency. International companies will continue to benefit in this cultural switch from in-person to remote work culture.

Another unexpected benefit was the ability to have more flexibility and redundancy with a global distributed workforce.

Most contact centers that faced major weather or tech disruptions built robust and expensive back up plans. Now, with a global remote workforce, if the main center goes down, you can reallocate work to your remote team and spin up more remote resources to assist during the disruptive period. Which is better for customer response times and resolution, and which equals better long-term customer stickiness.

As the world will remain globalized for the foreseeable future, it is pragmatic for companies that have global teams to prioritize remote work.

Businesses are no longer limited to their physical offices and locations. They can hire around the world and choose the perfect candidate without having to factor in their geographic locations. This cultural shift from in-person work to remote or hybrid work will only continue to grow in the future as companies either adapt or fail.

Jonathan Shroyer

Jonathan Shroyer

Jonathan Shroyer worked to develop Officium Labs back in 2019, which was acquired by Arise Virtual Solutions in 2021. Jonathan Shroyer is now the Chief CX Innovation Officer at Arise Virtual Solutions. There, he leads the gaming and consulting verticals and runs the CX Lab in San Francisco.

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