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Remote Work as a Job Accommodation: Emerging Trends and Best Practices

The vast majority of us work in office environments, with traditional 9-to-5 work schedules. However, times are changing, and remote work is becoming an increasingly popular option. According to recent research, remote work has grown by over 400% since 2010, and this trend will only continue to grow. Remote work is becoming an essential aspect of job accommodation for several reasons, including work-life balance, employee retention, reduced operational costs, and increased productivity.

In this article, we will explore the emerging trends and best practices for remote work accommodation, specifically focusing on the key drivers of remote work and how it can positively impact businesses in a variety of industries.

The Onset of Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible working schedules give teams greater autonomy and freedom in how they perform their job duties. It means that employees can work at a time that is convenient for them, as long as they meet their daily or weekly targets. This arrangement has been a game-changer for individuals who need to balance personal commitments with work responsibilities. Research indicates that individuals who have full control over their work schedules are more productive and have higher job satisfaction.

There are various ways companies can implement flexible working arrangements, such as establishing flexible start and end times, a compressed workweek, telecommuting, or job sharing. Employers should conduct workplace assessments to determine which of these options work best for their team members and the company’s operational needs.

Virtual Onboarding, Training, and Development

Remote work has necessitated new ways of onboarding, training, and developing employees. For instance, virtual onboarding processes allow new employees to begin their roles as full-time team members from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, virtual training and development sessions keep employees up to date with new industry trends, changes, policies, and procedures. It’s important to note that remote work does not limit learning and development opportunities, and companies should continuously invest in their employees’ virtual training and development.

Virtual team-building activities such as virtual happy hours, games, and challenges can create a strong culture, even in a remote setting. It is also crucial for managers to ensure that team members can get to know each other and remain connected to the company’s culture. Setting up an organization-wide social communication platform can foster connections and collaborations between employees.

Building Virtual Communication Infrastructure

Communication is vital to remote work as it is the lifeblood of virtual teams. Building a virtual communication infrastructure that is reliable, efficient, and robust is critical for job accommodation. Tools such as virtual voice and video conferencing, messaging apps, and project management software have become the backbone of remote work. Organizations must invest in a robust and agile communication infrastructure that enables team members to interact and collaborate seamlessly.

Communication is vital to remote work, as it is the lifeblood of virtual teams. Therefore, managers should encourage regular check-ins, use feedback tools, and set up town hall meetings to maintain a strong company culture. Additionally, virtual social spaces should be created to increase team members’ sense of connection with each other, especially in a remote setting.

Managing Remote Teams Effectively

Managing remote teams is quite different from traditional office-based teams. Remote managers need to be skilled at managing remote teams, such as goal-setting, providing feedback, and building trust with their team members. They should be able to set clear expectations, understand individual team members’ strengths and weaknesses, and respond appropriately to performance issues. In addition, remote managers should encourage team members to use social interaction tools to maintain a strong sense of culture and prevent feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Remote work can be challenging, especially for those who are unaccustomed to it. Thus, effective management of remote teams is critical in ensuring team members remain productive and connected. Therefore, managers should provide regular opportunities to receive feedback and coaching, communicate goals clearly so that teams know what’s expected of them, and hold regular virtual town halls to maintain a strong sense of culture.

Disadvantaged Communities’ Access to Remote Work

Remote work presents a chance for individuals from disadvantaged social groups, including those with disabilities, to access work opportunities that may have been previously unavailable. Remote work as an accommodation provides flexibility since physical mobility or location does not consistently limit employment opportunities. Employers should make a conscious effort to ensure that these groups have access to remote work opportunities through inclusive policies and reasonable accommodations to make remote work accessible to all.

Remote work as a job accommodation empowers people who may not have access to traditional employment. With inclusive policies and reasonable accommodations, remote work can be accessible to every candidate who may be a good fit for a role, regardless of location or physical disabilities.

Leveraging Technology for Remote Work

Technology plays a critical role in remote work, and it is essential to leverage technology to maximize productivity and collaboration. Companies should equip their workforce with the necessary technology to ensure that team members can work efficiently from remote locations. Cloud-based collaboration tools such as Google Docs, Dropbox, and Microsoft Team enable employees to work on projects in real-time, collaborate on documents, and participate in virtual meetings.

Moreover, technology tools like time tracking software, project management software, and communication software can help managers monitor team productivity and communication. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, and work is progressing effectively. Additionally, the use of robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies can help streamline processes and automate repetitive tasks.

Encouraging Work-Life Balance

Remote work offers employees the opportunity to achieve better work-life balance, which can positively impact their productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. As a result, employers should encourage and promote healthy work-life balance to reduce burnout and turnover.

It is essential for managers to establish clear work hour boundaries, set reasonable expectations around response times, and encourage time off to rest and recharge. Also, it is crucial to encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance by engaging in physical activity and taking breaks throughout the day.

Measuring Remote Work Performance

One of the main concerns when transitioning to a remote work model is how to measure employee performance effectively. Traditionally, performance was measured based on the number of hours worked, attendance, and other metrics readily available in an office setting. However, remote work often requires a different framework to effectively measure performance.

One method of measuring remote work performance is to establish clear performance objectives and goals that can be tracked and measured. It is also vital to provide regular feedback and coaching to remote employees to ensure they are meeting the desired performance levels. Tools such as project management software and time tracking solutions can be helpful in measuring remote employee performance.

Securing Remote Work

With remote work comes the need for heightened security measures to safeguard company assets, including data and intellectual property. Thus, remote work strategies must include rigorous security protocols, policies, and technology tools that protect company data from cyber attacks, identity theft, and other security risks.

It is essential for companies to invest in secure remote access technology and multi-factor authentication protocols, encrypt sensitive data, and train employees to be vigilant regarding phishing scams and other cyber threats. Also, regular system maintenance checks and software updates should be carried out to ensure the continual protection of company information and data.

Cultivating Remote Work Culture

Cultivating remote work culture is crucial for maintaining a strong organization culture despite having team members working in different locations. Employers should encourage team members to interact, connect, and collaborate regularly through virtual social events, town halls, and social communication platforms, in addition to other channels that foster a sense of community.

Additionally, providing virtual recognition and celebrating team wins can contribute to a thriving culture and boost motivation and productivity. Managers should also ensure that company values are embraced, and the organization’s mission is communicated effectively to promote unity and collaboration, despite the physical distance.


Remote work as a job accommodation is becoming increasingly prevalent, and workplaces must adopt policies, processes, and best practices to adapt effectively. By doing so, companies can maximize productivity, reduce operational costs, and improve employee job satisfaction. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to focus on emerging trends and best practices to ensure remote work policies remain current and adaptable.

Employers should encourage a healthy work-life balance, invest in the right technology tools and infrastructure, develop effective performance measurements, strengthen security protocols, and cultivate remote work culture to optimize the remote work experience for their teams. With these best practices, remote work can be a valuable tool for increased productivity and business growth.

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