The world of work has evolved over the past three years. While pre-pandemic only 6% of employees primarily worked remotely, by the end of 2022 an estimated 25% of professional jobs in the US were remote (compared to 6% pre-pandemic). And this number is set to increase through 2023.
The remote working trend is here to stay, and with this huge shift in ways of working comes a shift in technology too.
Software and tools have been developed to meet the demands of remote working, making it easier, safer, and more collaborative. Let's take a look at six of the trends in remote working in 2023 - from a technological perspective.
The first technological trend that's set to grow as a result of remote working is cybersecurity. Now that confidential information is being accessed remotely more and more, extra thought has to go into keeping that information safe and secure.
According to a global Cisco survey, an enormous 85% of organizations say that cybersecurity is more important now than before the pandemic. And to reflect the fact that this has become a greater priority, the global cybersecurity market size is forecast to grow from $217.9 billion in 2021, to $262.22 billion in 2023, right up to $345.4 billion by 2026!
One of the biggest struggles faced by employees when working remotely is collaboration and communication. And more than 62% of CEOs echo this.
Remote collaboration platforms help to solve this problem. They make it easier for teams to communicate and collaborate, no matter where they're working from. There are a range of tools that fall into this category, including document collaboration tools, communication software, and project management tools.
Online whiteboard tools - which help remote and hybrid teams to ideate and collaborate in real time - are growing in number and becoming more widely used. The global online whiteboard software market is projected to grow from $9.56 million in 2019 to $24.67 million by 2027, and searches for the online whiteboard platform Miro are up 900% over the last three years.
The pandemic meant that job interviews were conducted online, and while many companies have returned to a physical office for at least some of the time, the trend for online interviews looks set to continue.
In fact, 93% of employers who adopted virtual interviews because of the pandemic expect to continue conducting them online going forward.
And while many will use conference tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, the demand for specialist interview software is on the up, with a 900% increase in searches for "online interview software" over the past year.
Video interview software offers better functionality when it comes to recruitment, with features including feedback submission, note taking, and AI answer analysis that make the remote interviewing process more efficient.
A slightly more sinister technological trend in remote working is something known as "bossware". Bossware is a type of monitoring technology that some companies are using to keep an eye on employee productivity and efficiency.
A recent survey reported that 60% of employers in the US are now requiring employees to have this type of monitoring software installed on their devices, while another 17% are considering it.
This tracking technology can be used to take screenshots, record mouse movements, log keystrokes, and even activate webcams and microphones. Many platforms use AI to analyze this data and produce a productivity score at the end of each day.
Understandably, this is an innovation that isn't too popular with employees, and a report from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center highlights how harmful employee monitoring can be, particularly as it can cause workers to lose autonomy and privacy.
The use of artificial intelligence is already a reality in many industries. In fact, a recent study by IBM found that 35% of companies are already using AI in their business, and an additional 42% are exploring the idea.
AI is largely being used to automate repetitive tasks and streamline workflows to improve productivity. We've already discussed how AI is used in video interviews and bossware, and there are a whole host of other use cases too.
Tools that use AI to assist with email management help to deal with the increased number of emails remote workers receive. AI scheduling apps help users to schedule remote and hybrid meetings, AI time-tracking tools assist with filling in timesheets, and AI transcription tools like Transcribe provide users with automated meeting notes from virtual meetings.
These are just some of the ways AI can help remote workers, and as this technology continues to advance, the list of use cases will grow ever longer!
With the continuing remote working trend, it's important for companies to prioritize digital accessibility for their employees. According to the CDC, one in four adults in the US has a disability. About 5.9% have a serious difficulty hearing and 4.6% have serious vision difficulty, which can make online meetings particularly challenging.
Assistive technology is being continuously developed and improved to help with digital accessibility. Features of assistive technology include captioning, subtitles, transcriptions, screen readers, and magnifiers.
Many online meeting platforms create live captions so that participants who are deaf or hard of hearing can understand the content and engage in the meeting. There's also the option to optimize voices so that it's easier to hear everyone - even speakers sitting far away from their microphones.
AI transcription tools like Transcribe help companies to present audio or video content in written format - whether that's transcribed meeting notes, webinars, or other training materials. And because it's AI-powered, it saves employees time and boosts productivity too.
Find out more about how to make your content more accessible.
As time goes on, we expect to see more technological advancements to support the demands of remote working. We'll be back next year with more remote working trend updates and predictions, but in the meantime, check out our tips for conducting hybrid meetings.
Written By Katie Garrett