Updated: September 11, 2023

13 Top Remote Work Trends for 2024

You found our list of popular remote work trends.

Remote work trends are patterns emerging among businesses regarding flexible work hours and working away from the office. Examples include an increasing number of freelance specialists, hybrid work arrangements, and the use of Bossware. These trends are significant because they inform critical business decisions and how firms can stay up-to-date with their remote work policies.

For more information on remote work, check out remote work statistics, remote work-life balance tips, and the ultimate guide to remote work.

This article contains:

  • global remote work trends
  • work from home trends
  • remote work hiring trends
  • virtual work trends

Let’s get started!

List of remote work trends

Some businesses need their employees to be on-site from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, but the trend toward flexible work hours and remote work is growing. Typically, remote work policies allow workers to choose between working from home and coming into the office at the most convenient times. In addition, businesses that rely heavily on technology might benefit from the growing trend of remote workers. The following are exciting trends that will affect remote work.

1. Coworking Spaces Will Become Even More Prevalent

Coworking spaces have become essential for the remote work landscape. These shared workspaces offer professionals a dedicated space to work outside their homes or traditional offices. Coworking spaces have amenities like high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and communal areas. The idea is to foster productivity and networking opportunities. These spaces are particularly beneficial for remote workers interested in a structured workspace, social interaction, and an escape from isolation. As remote work continues to evolve, coworking spaces will likely expand in number and diversity, catering to a wide range of professionals and remote work preferences.

2. Companies May Measure Output Over Hours Worked

Shifting the focus from hours worked to output and results is a significant trend in the remote work landscape. Instead of traditional time-based metrics, companies are increasingly valuing productivity, quality of work, and achievement of goals. This approach acknowledges that remote work allows for greater flexibility in managing time and tasks. By emphasizing production, organizations create a more outcome-driven work culture that empowers employees to manage their schedules effectively. This shift promotes trust between employers and remote workers and encourages a results-oriented mindset. Ultimately, this attitude leads to a more efficient and effective remote workforce.

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3. More Employees Prefer Remote Work Over More Compensation

According to a poll conducted by Ivanti for their “Everywhere Workplace” report, 71% of workers said they would prefer to work from home rather than get a pay raise or promotion. According to the poll, the top three reasons why workers would choose to forego a promotion or increased pay in favor of working remotely include the ability to avoid commuting, improve their work-life balance, and save money.

4. The Number of Freelance Specialists WIll Increase

Freelance experts will make up a larger share of the American workforce as remote work hiring trends progress. Skilled professionals now have more options for finding contract employment because of the proliferation of remote work platforms and freelancing websites. This climate is also beneficial for businesses, as generalists are not always the best match for onsite work, and it is often more cost-effective to hire experts on a contract basis.

According to Upwork, independent contractors made up approximately 36% of the labor force in 2020, up 8% from 2019. Furthermore, freelancers now contribute up to $1.2 trillion to the US economy annually. With this growing trend, more businesses will outsource specialized tasks to freelancers located remotely.

5. Hybrid Work Arrangements Will Offer a Compromise

Back in 2020, working from home became more than a Silicon Valley benefit to a requirement for many businesses. However, now that regulations imposed in the wake of the pandemic have relaxed, a new trend, which is hybrid work, is emerging. The COVID-19 pandemic changed traditional work arrangements.

Many workers now opt for a form of remote employment. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, 60% of employees prefer the option to work remotely some or all of the time. However, such an arrangement is unsettling for many businesses. In a PWC study, only 13% of CEOs said they favored a totally remote workforce. A survey by Salary.com found that just 5% of corporate executives want to keep using an entirely remote workforce.

A hybrid setup seems to provide companies and workers with the best of both worlds. According to the Salary.com survey, the hybrid arrangement is the most preferred workplace setting. Up to 50% of managers agreed that their staff would spend some time in the workplace and some time away from it.

A McKinsey report showed that some 58% of the US workforce has reported being able to work remotely at least one day per week. Moreover, according to the research, nearly 90% of workers who are offered a hybrid work arrangement take it.

Check out this list of hybrid team building activities.

6. Cybersecurity Is More Critical Than Ever

A greater focus on cybersecurity is one of the most important work from home trends. Companies are starting to take cyber security more seriously as the average data breach cost reached up to 4.24 million in 2021.

A Cisco survey found that 85% of businesses worldwide believe cybersecurity is more crucial today than ever. The switch to remote work was also difficult for many companies. According to an EY survey, 71% of respondents named remote work support their top security problem. As remote work becomes more commonplace, the value placed on cybersecurity teams has increased.

Cybersecurity companies will promote remote work solutions more actively to address this problem. Similarly, investments in endpoint security solutions and zero-trust cloud architecture will likely increase across industries. However, some businesses will not adopt this trend, and some off-site businesses may suffer severe and expensive breaches.

7. Employees’ Health is Taking Center Stage

With the rise of remote work, there is a growing emphasis on enhancing employee well-being, as CEOs and business leaders prioritize this aspect. However, remote work has brought to light the psychological challenges employees face, with one in five Americans experiencing mental health issues annually. A survey titled “Social Connection in Remote Work” highlights the prevalence of loneliness among remote workers, with over 55% regularly feeling alone.

Notably, social interactions with coworkers significantly impact job satisfaction, with 68% of respondents emphasizing their importance. As remote work continues to evolve, addressing employees’ mental health concerns is becoming a top priority. Companies are expected to implement counseling services, improved remote communication, and more team building activities to foster social connections and support mental well-being. Job seekers may also seek out employers offering comprehensive mental health benefits as part of their job search criteria.

Here is a list of virtual wellness activities for employees.

8. Employees Ask More Questions about Fairness

Fairness is sure to be a hot topic as remote work becomes increasingly common across sectors. Inequality will become evident if the gap between office workers and remote employees widens. Eventually, companies will have to confront the effects of their flexible work practices on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

A Zappier study found that just 25% of male workers are restricted from working remotely, compared to 40% of women. As mixed work becomes the norm, this chasm will widen, perhaps prompting changes in the system. There has to be a focus on equity as companies increase their use of remote workers.

For more advice, check out this list of DEI books.

9. Employees May Participate In Digital Nomadism

Digital nomadism is one of the global remote work trends that has gained traction as remote work becomes more prevalent. This behavior involves working remotely while traveling and living in different locations worldwide. Digital nomads often rely on technology to stay connected with their teams and clients. The availability of high-speed internet, collaborative tools, and a shift in corporate culture toward more flexible work arrangements have enabled this trend. While nomadism offers the freedom to explore new places and cultures, it also poses challenges, such as managing time zones and work-life boundaries. Companies embracing digital nomadism may need to adapt policies and support systems to accommodate employees’ diverse locations and lifestyles.

10. Freelance Marketplaces Grow in Popularity

Companies are increasingly using freelancing marketplaces as they grow used to a more diverse workforce. Millions of individuals are actively searching for freelancing jobs for the first time. According to information compiled by Upwork, the number of self-employed Americans rose from 53 million in 2014 to 59 million in 2021.

In the future, over half of the top-level business leaders want to make extensive use of digital talent platforms, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business School. Almost 90% of corporate executives believe remote talent platforms are critical to their company’s long-term success. Therefore, the number of online resources that provide access to competent remote workers is expanding rapidly. In 2014, about 190 different freelancing platform businesses existed with approximately 600 million in investments. The number is up to 330 companies, with investment reaching almost $1.9 billion. This number signifies a growth of 75%.

Fiverr and Upwork are two of the most well-known online freelance marketplaces and publicly traded companies. However, in the freelancing platform sector, VC interest remains high even if there are already several industry behemoths, like Fiverr and Upwork. The reason is that many new freelancing platform competitors provide distinctive advantages over incumbents like Upwork, whether it superior business models, superior go-to-market fit, or unique features.

11. Bossware Usage Will Increase to Monitor Remote Employee Efficiency

Many businesses are increasingly using Bossware, or employee monitoring technology. This software keeps track of how effectively their remote workers are performing. According to a poll by digital.com, 60% of businesses now require their employees to install monitoring software on their personal devices, and about 17% are thinking about doing the same. Bossware can take various forms, such as tracking mouse clicks and keyboard inputs or taking occasional screenshots. Some Bossware goes even further by turning on microphones or cameras, and artificial intelligence often analyzes this data and generates productivity scores.

However, many remote workers are not happy about being monitored, and they might not even be aware that it is happening. Research conducted by the Berkeley Labor Center at the University of California has highlighted the negative effects of constant surveillance on workers. Surveillance can limit workers’ personal freedom and privacy, and it might harm their mental health. While some states like New York, Connecticut, and Delaware have introduced rules requiring employers to inform workers about monitoring, there are currently no federal regulations governing this type of surveillance.

Check out this.list of employee monitoring tools.

12. Firms May Struggle to Maintain Culture and Collaboration

Despite the challenges of managing a distributed workforce, many companies place a premium on fostering a strong sense of company culture and encouraging employees to work together. As a result, most workers do not see remote work as having any significant impact on the company’s culture. However, a Gallup poll shows that 30% of American employees worry that culture may suffer due to long-term remote employment.

Over 66% of CEOs in a 2021 SHRM Omnibus Survey cited the difficulty of sustaining company culture as a significant talent management concern when dealing with remote workers. Facilitating interaction and cooperation amongst a dispersed workforce was a close second.

Further evidence for this pattern comes from a BCG study that found remote workers are less productive on group projects. As a result, software that helps the culture and cooperation of remote teams is growing in popularity as a solution to these problems.

For instance, Alibaba’s DingTalk, a platform for remote workers to communicate and collaborate on projects, is gaining popularity. The market for virtual whiteboard applications is one of the most promising subsets. Conceptboard, MURAL, and Miro are just a few common examples.

These companies offer collaborative whiteboard platforms and other visual tools with the same goal of improving workplace communication. Cleary is another startup that helps businesses implement systems to make workers feel like a part of the company’s culture. For example, team members may use the site to see accomplishments and milestones and offer congratulations and other positive messages to one another. As a bonus, workers may form social groups to discuss relevant topics and network outside regular business hours.

Check out these lists of online collaboration tools and tips for building successful virtual teams.

13. Virtual Interviews are Becoming More Popular

According to a Gartner survey, concerns regarding COVID-19 led 86% of companies to turn to virtual hiring. During the COVID-19 pandemic, several businesses began using videoconferencing technology to conduct interviews. This phenomenon shows no signs of ending anytime soon. According to a SHRM survey, 93% of respondents said they expect to use virtual interviews in the future.

Furthermore, Jobvite research found that 61% of recruiting managers want to keep using a combination of online and in-person techniques. Nonetheless, 22% plan to stick to virtual interviews only. Many company executives are pleased with the results of remote recruiting. Hiring managers often prefer online interviews over in-person ones because of the ease, speed, and cost-effectiveness.

Candidates also like virtual interviews. For instance, RecRight found that more than 80% of respondents were pleased that video interviews were part of the hiring process. More firms are using video technology for remote interviews, and that figure will likely rise.

The recruitment process is sped up with the use of AI and ML technologies used by the organization. Their software supposedly allows businesses to save 70% of the time normally spent on this task.

Check out these lists of interview questions and virtual interview tips.

Conclusion

Millions of employees and companies have benefited from, struggled with, and benefited from remote job options. However, as remote workspace arrangements grow, one can anticipate more changes to the setup, perception, and importance.

Being able to work from home was once a luxury. However, virtual work is becoming the norm in various fields and workplaces now. In addition, workplace flexibility is evolving to accommodate the rise of remote and hybrid jobs. The virtual work trends mentioned here are but a taste of what the future of remote work may hold. Industries may evolve as more businesses adopt and foster a remote workforce.

Also, check out our articles on list of top work from home books, and tips for creating strong remote work culture.

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FAQ: Remote work trends

Here are frequently asked questions about remote work trends.

What are remote work trends?

Remote work trends are patterns related to working from home that are currently emerging or expected to occur in the coming years. Companies can monitor these trends and implement best practices for remote work.

What are current trends in remote work?

Some of the current trends include the increasing popularity of freelance platforms, more focus on employees’ mental wellbeing, and the growing importance of cyber security. Virtual interviews have also become more popular than before.

What are the likely future trends in remote work?

Some likely future trends include increasing questions around fairness, global expansion of remote work, and more investment in home offices. Technology will also allow more sectors adopt remote working arrangements.

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Author:

People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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