Why the future of work may already be here

December 05, 2023

It would appear that a single day doesn’t go past without some mention of the future of work, and of how artificial intelligence in particular will be central to what the future workplace will look like. There is no doubt that AI will revolutionise how we work, both for better and for worse. However, like with all new advances in technology, discourse and debate is often inflated. It is far easier to speculate on the possibilities of tomorrow rather than to examine the trends of today. Perhaps, then, it is more appropriate to reflect on more recent developments in how we work, and to examine how already adapted practices may, in fact, provide better clues as to what the future of work will look like.

The COVID-19 pandemic marked a shift in how we both live and work. The widespread adoption of remote work throughout the global economy represented one of the greatest transformations in employment practices for over a generation. The proliferation of affordable and effective communication technologies means that location is no longer a barrier to work, challenging society when it comes to how we conceptualise the very fundamentals of employment. Not only does remote work give individuals the flexibility and adaptability to live and work where they want and to eradicate their daily commutes, the benefits to employers are likewise manifold.

There are some immediate benefits to embracing a remote-first model. In a tight jobs market, the willingness to hire without location as a barrier means that a wider pool of talent is now available to an organisation. With flexible work options becoming increasingly important to candidates, organisations who make this transition are well placed to attract and retain staff. Furthermore, remote work expands employment opportunities to a more diverse talent pool, giving those traditionally underrepresented in the workforce an opportunity to enter it for the first time. Increasing access to employment can go a long way to promoting greater equity in the workplace. The flexibility of remote-first practices also means that employees can work how and when they want, therefore ensuring that they can work to the best of their abilities. When implemented correctly, a remote work culture in an organisation can lead to significant increases in productivity, with Remote.com’s 2023 Report suggesting overall increases of up to 40% in productivity and 36% in employee engagement in companies which have made the transition to remote. Likewise, remote work fosters a culture of learning and development in teams, encouraging them to keep abreast of new technologies and platforms, thereby keeping employees resilient in an ever changing world of work.

Despite the benefits that remote work has brought to some sections of the workforce, challenges persist. The truth is, like all effective operating structures, remote-first practices need correct implementation to function well. We are still in the early days of this work transformation and it is understandable that doubt lingers when it comes to making the transition to remote. At Grow Remote, our mission is to assist employers and employees in making sure that remote work works for them in the most effective way possible, and to empower them to harness the significant potential of remote work. We do this by educating, upskilling, and advising organisations and workers alike on the best practices and knowledge in the ecosystem. A central tenet of our mission rests in our fully funded training courses for managers and staff alike.

In many respects, what we saw during the pandemic in terms of remote work was a form of crisis management. Significant work remains to be done to make sure that we truly utilise the advancements of remote work to ensure it empowers people, profit, and planet alike. In sketching the parameters of tomorrow’s workplace, we would do well to examine our recent advancements.

For further information on Grow Remote, please contact eoin@growremote.ie.


Dr Eoin Byrne

Grow Remote