Mindsets and Motivations Series: Embracing the New Realities of Remote Work

August 2, 2023

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer

Remote work has become the new norm, but it's not just a temporary shift – it has profoundly influenced the mindsets of young professionals.

Employee chatting with remote team on video call, freelancer working from home, attending videoconference. Woman talking on virtual meeting, telework, online brainstorming, teamwork concept

The events of the last few years have caused significant disruptions to the workforce, leaving recent graduates with a unique experience of transitioning into the job market during challenging times. As the aftermath continues to impact our lives, it has undoubtedly influenced the mindsets of young professionals in how they perceive and approach in-office and remote work environments.

In this blog, we will explore the impact of the changing attitudes of graduates toward work settings.

The Initial Shock

Many were born into a world of remote work and may not have known anything different. The office concept, for some, has become something of a meme, a proverbial landline in the world of cell phones. According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor in 2020, 62% of recent graduates reported they faced challenges adjusting to remote work during the pandemic, while only 29% found it relatively seamless.

The sudden shift to remote work due to the pandemic left many graduates feeling unprepared and disconnected from their colleagues. This initial shock and lack of familiarity with remote work tools and practices resulted in a significant portion of young professionals finding the transition difficult. These graduates had experienced office work, the water cooler moments, the commutes, the rite-of-passage viewing of Office Space.

Embracing Remote Work Advantages

In a recent Upwork study, remote work grew by 87% among graduates during the pandemic. Additionally, a report by Buffer reveals that 97% of respondents would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. This new way of working has brought many advantages. While there are a significant number of roles that require an in-person presence, the flexibility and freedom brought about by remote work have seen a major mind shift in how people approach their roles.

As graduates adapted to remote work, they realized the benefits it brought to their work-life balance. They liked having the ability to create their own schedules and work from the comfort of their homes. Remote work enhanced productivity and increased their sense of autonomy. It has also reduced micro-management and led to an increase in opportunities for deep work. (We have some tips for working from home in another blog.)

The Desire for In-Office Social Interaction

Introverts may disagree with this, but people need people. In a 2021 survey by Owl Labs, 85% of graduates mentioned they missed in-person interactions and social connections with their colleagues while working remotely.

While remote work presented several benefits, the lack of face-to-face interactions and the absence of a physical workspace led many graduates to yearn for the social camaraderie and spontaneous collaboration that in-office environments provide. It’s easier to ignore the Teams call or shut off the camera than it is to turn away the person stopping by your desk. There’s something about just seeing people walk through the office or bumping into someone in the break room that amplifies connection.

This leads us to the hybrid model; all the social benefits of the in-office model but with the ability to still manage your schedule to accommodate both work and life.

Navigating the Hybrid Work Model

A survey conducted by PwC in 2022 indicated that 64% of recent graduates preferred a hybrid work model that combines both in-office and remote work options.

As organizations began to embrace hybrid work models, many graduates expressed interest in this approach. The flexibility of choosing when to work from home and when to be in the office appealed to their desire for work-life balance and varied work experiences.

Focus on Work-Life Balance

According to a survey conducted by Indeed in 2021, 72% of graduates stated that work-life balance was a crucial factor when considering job opportunities, and 63% believed that remote work could enhance their work-life integration.

With remote work blurring the lines between personal and professional life, many young professionals began to prioritize jobs that allowed them to maintain a healthy balance between work responsibilities and personal commitments.

Adapting to Technological Advancements

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital tools and technologies in the workplace. Graduates had to quickly learn and adapt to various collaboration platforms, project management tools, and video conferencing software, making them more tech-savvy and adaptable to changing work environments.

From a process perspective, toolsets like Slack, Monday.com, Asana, and many others have revolutionized the way we prioritize our workday and manage tasks. All of these advancements lead to a higher level of autonomy and ownership.

To Wrap Up

The pandemic became something of a catalyst propelling remote work into themainstream, becoming the default work arrangement for many graduates. While the initial shock of remote work posed challenges, graduates eventually embraced its advantages. The flexibility, increased productivity, and improved work-life balance experienced during remote work have led young professionals to embrace it as a viable long-term option. However, the desire for in-office social interactions remains strong, leading to the rise of hybrid work models.

Moreover, work-life balance and digital skills have become crucial factors for graduates as they navigate the ever-evolving world of work. As they continue to adapt to changing work dynamics, this generation of graduates will undoubtedly shape a more flexible and inclusive future of work.

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