Remote work in tech in 2024: innovations shaping the future of telecommuting


It’s become almost clichéd to say that the world of work has undergone a profound change over the last four years – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In the post-COVID world, the corporate landscape is still being shaped, inin in some ways divided, by one thing: remote work.

So, should employees return to the workplace? Or is the traditional office now obsolete? In a lot of ways, we’re still figuring that out, with some companies like Amazon and Google officially adopting a ‘return to office’ strategy, and others leaning into the hybrid-work trend. So what does the future of remote work look like? What’s the best way to manage remote teams? And is there such a thing as remote work best practice?

Let’s take a look at some of the big innovations shaping the future of telecommuting.

The remote revolution: What is the future of remote work?

First things first: the stats. According to some studies, 74% of U.S. companies are using (or plan to implement) a permanent hybrid work model. That puts the Googles and Amazons of the world on the outer (although, when you’re the biggest, you can kind of afford to blaze your own path). Forbes is also reporting that, as of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees are working from home full-time, with 32.6 million Americans on-track for remote work by 2025.

In other words, the future of remote work is, well, remote. Hybrid work isn’t going away, despite the views of some high-profile corporate idealogues. But what does that future look like exactly, and what are the big tech trends shaping the future of telecommuting?

Telecommuting adoption  

The most obvious change over the last few years. In 2020 alone, the Zoom mobile app was downloaded 485 million times. The company generated $4.3 billion in revenue in 2022; a 7.3% year-on-year increase.

Still, as with any new tech, competition is never far behind, and these days there’s a massive proliferation of telecommuting tools, apps and software. This has created a flow-on effect, with more demand for sophisticated remote work management tools, such as productivity tracking and technical support. HR teams are also being forced to re-evaluate how they measure key performance goals in a hybrid world, or provide coaching and feedback to remote employees.

WFH cybersecurity

[body] The need for hybrid-specific cyber security strategies has also grown over the last few years. And, odds are, that trend will continue. Gartner is already reporting that 66% of global enterprises are going to increase their investment in cyber in 2024. And it makes sense. With more and more employees working from home, on various devices, corporate IT security now hangs on the strength of someone’s home WIFI password. That’s not a position any company wants to be in. Just look at the stats: remote workers have caused a security breach in 20% of organizations.

Workforce movement

The widespread adoption of remote work has another interesting flow-on effect: because remote workers can work from home, they’re no longer bound by geography. They can apply for jobs on the other side of the country, or the other side of the world, and this puts upward pressure on talent. Companies without a hybrid work model risk being talent squeezed – they no longer hold a geographic monopoly on local professionals. A lot of research suggests this has already happened. The Pew Research Centre found that, since 2020, 17% of workers are telecommuting because they’ve moved away from their place of work – up from 9% before the pandemic. 

HR changes

Some departments – like IT – have adapted well to remote and hybrid work. Others have found the switch more challenging. HR in particular faces some big obstacles: many corporate HR best practices are no longer appropriate in a hybrid work environment. How do you manage employee engagement? What’s the best way for staff to communicate and collaborate? How can you track productivity when everyone’s working from the couch? 44% of workers are now reporting social isolation as the biggest downside of remote work. This means HR teams will need to adapt in 2024. Expect big changes in this area.

Upskill. Upskill. Upskill.

In a lot of ways, remote and hybrid work are just symptoms of a growing digitization of the workforce. This was coming on even before the pandemic, but remote work trends are definitely accelerating the transformation. The World Economic Forum is already tipping that at least 50% of the global workforce will need significant re-skilling by 2025. This means we’re probably going to see employers moving away from specific role-hiring and targeting talent with a deep, broad skillset. Expect to see organizations invest heavily in training and upskilling, especially if their workforce is largely work-from-home. The numbers don’t lie: U.S. companies spent more than $100 billion on learning and development in 2022. The highest amount ever recorded.