New data suggests nearly two-thirds of the workforce will work remotely after the pandemic.
Andrew Winters, a lawyer, never saw himself being able to work remotely. But much to his surprise, work-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic has gone well. So well, in fact, that his law firm will continue working remotely, regardless of the post-pandemic landscape.
"Many of us realized that our jobs could be done just as well and just as efficiently from our homes as from the office," said Winters, co-founder of Cohen & Winters, a law firm. "Our mindset is that as long as our employees are doing what needs to be done, then it does not matter too much where they do it from."
Cohen & Winters is part of a growing trend of businesses leaning into remote jobs. By 2025, up to 70% of the workforce may be working remotely at least five days a month.
While the pandemic might have forced the economy to go remote, working from home has turned out to be a boost for many industries. According to a winter 2020 survey of 133 executives, 83% said the shift to remote work has been successful for their company.
However, few of them think company culture will survive a remote-only workplace model. A hybrid work environment — a split between working in the office and at home — will probably be much more common, said Daniel Levine, a trends expert and keynote speaker.
"The office isn't finished," Levine said. "We'll be going back to offices, but perhaps not with as much zeal as we did before."
But which careers will have more remote opportunities than before? According to a report by McKinsey & Company, five sectors show more promise for remote work than all others.
Top 5 Careers for Remote Work
Financial services manage money for people, companies, and corporations. Since the industry doesn't need money to physically trade hands to work effectively, financial services are relatively easier to do online than many other industries.
Because of this, financial services should see the highest growth of hybrid and remote work. Of all the industries McKinsey & Company analyzed, financial services require the least in-person presence and have the highest yield for productivity from home.
The workforce — accountants, investors, insurance agents — is also just as productive or even more so while working from home. According to a PwC survey, 69% of financial services executives reported that their employees were as productive or more productive in June than before COVID-19.
Executives Expect to Make Long-Term Shift to Hybrid
According to McKinsey & Company, management has the next highest potential for remote work. It makes sense, too: Management jobs are often analytical and don't necessarily need face-to-face interaction.
Management includes administering, overseeing, and managing companies or enterprises. It also includes strategic or organizational planning and decision-making. Management exists in many different industries, including manufacturing, investments, and marketing.
While remote data isn't available for the entire management industry, one survey shows at least part of it is moving in that direction. According to Deloitte Insights, investment management firms increased spending on hybrid and remote working arrangements entering 2021.
Remote Work Potential for Example Jobs
3. Professional Services
Professional services include any profession that offers special, skill-based services to clients. Many of these jobs are doable from anywhere; for example, appraisers, actuaries, and financial planners do not need to work with clients face to face.
Professional service is a broad sector that includes jobs with training in the arts or sciences, a professional degree, or a license. Some of the most common roles include engineers, doctors, and lawyers, which, believe it or not, all have the potential for more remote work in the future.
Telemedicine, in particular, should see a big bump moving forward. Market analysts expect telemedicine to grow by 40% through 2023, meaning more remote work opportunities will become available.
Executives Plan to Increase Investments in Hybrid Work
4. Information Technology
Despite the economic challenges of COVID-19, information technology is booming. According to McKinsey & Company, it has additional room for growth with remote work.
Why? Because tech jobs, many of which are remote, are useful in an economy that is becoming increasingly digital, and many tech jobs don't need face-to-face interaction.
Big Tech companies are leading the push for remote-only workplaces. This summer, companies including Zillow, Twitter, and Square announced that employees could work from home indefinitely.
Major Tech Companies with Long-Term Remote/Hybrid Plans
- Microsoft Employees can work from home half the time
- Zillow Most employees can work from home permanently
- Facebook Half of the company's workforce will work remotely within the next 10 years
- Square Allowing employees to work from home indefinitely
- Hitachi Up to 70% of employees will work from home permanently
- Google Employees will work in person at least three days a week
Remote technology saved education of all levels during the pandemic. That same technology may continue to drive the industry to expand hybrid and remote learning models.
The online education market may reach $350 billion by 2025 due to the introduction of more flexible learning technologies in corporate and education sectors. While economic growth doesn't always lead to more jobs, there is usually a positive correlation between the two.
But if the predictions are true, there could be more teaching opportunities in K-12, higher education, and businesses. Corporations in particular may use online education as a more cost-effective way to train employees, implementing e-learning courses and distance learning programs.
Evan Thompson is a Washington-based writer for TBS covering higher education. He has bylines in the Seattle Times, Tacoma News Tribune, Everett Herald, and others from his past life as a newspaper reporter.
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