Our collective attitudes toward the way we work have changed significantly in recent years. With the events of the global pandemic now several years behind us, traditional in-office work arrangements are far from the expected norm.

As of 2023, it’s believed as many as 13% of full-time employees now work in entirely remote positions, with almost 30% engaged in some form of hybrid work structure. However, experts remain divided when it comes to accurately predicting the future of alternative work models.

With recently published data suggesting 90% of companies plan to implement some form of return-to-office policy in 2024, and some experts believing fully remote positions to be at the highest risk of replacement by AI, the future of remote work models seems a little uncertain.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, as attitudes towards remote work remain positive among skilled workers, with 94% claiming to prefer these types of roles. If talent is locked behind remote and hybrid working arrangements, intelligent companies will find some way to strike a mutually beneficial balance. With this in mind, below is an actionable guide to future-proofing your remote career.

What do employers dislike about remote work?

If remote-workers are to ensure that they’re skills remain marketable to potential employers, they must first understand the elements of remote arrangements that business owners may be wary of. When the modern idea of remote work first rose to prominence in 2020, many of the major talking points revolved around engagement and productivity. However, research suggests that employers’ opinions regarding these issues may exist in contradiction of data.

According to one study published by Microsoft in 2022, 85% of business leaders believe the shift to alternative work arrangements has made it difficult for employers to accurately gauge employee productivity. The same report goes on to say that almost 50% struggle to trust that their remote workers are performing to the best of their abilities. However, such figures seem to be based on opinions rather than provable data. So, can data help to refute these claims?

Research backed by reputable companies like Best Buy, British Telecom, and Dow Chemical revealed that remote workers may be up to 40% more productive than their in-office counterparts, with supporting data published by Stanford University finding remote staff to be 13% more efficient than on-site employees. Of course, bombarding potential employers with such statistics is unlikely to be a good idea. Though it does suggest that measuring your own productivity and presenting this data to employers might help to dispel pre-existing concerns.

A view of a person working from home.

Worries regarding productivity and engagement aren’t the only factors that employers seem to dislike about remote work, so to help employees promote their value as remote workers to potential employers, below are a few additional talking points that may be worth considering:

– Monitoring – 69% of employers feel uneasy about remote work because they can’t monitor staff in person, remote employees may find it beneficial to develop personal progress reports sent to managers at regular intervals to help mitigate such concerns

– Communication – Employers may find it difficult to effectively communicate with staff working remotely, an issue that 17% of remote workers reportedly agree with, making sure that you’re easily accessible during working hours can act to address this problem

– Culture – Fostering a strong workplace culture can be hard for remote workers, with employers often worrying about a lack of collaboration between distributed teams, developing a routine in which you regularly reach out to your colleagues and initiate collaborative conversations may help you develop sought-after remote working skills

– Security – Data suggests that 72% of employers are concerned about online security risks with regards to remote work, learning how to safely operate cybersecurity tools and developing skills in digital security can help to future-proof careers

Tips for future-proofing your remote career

Whether you’re a Gen Z worker or someone with more experience, preparing yourself to professionally address employer-driven remote work concerns isn’t the only way to future-proof your remote career. Alongside these efforts, workers should focus on developing marketable skills and personal abilities to help them stand out from the crowd.

Below is a selection of actionable tips and advice designed to help you optimize your career.

Focus on self-motivation

While some people are naturally able to focus on key tasks without frequent supervision, for others, the freedom associated with remote work can lead to the development of bad habits. Your productivity may dip gradually without any instant repercussions, which can lead some employees to lose focus over time and become increasingly disengaged with their work.

A dedication to self-motivation and focus will help remote employees to demonstrate value to prospective employers, ensuring that their positions do not become viewed as insignificant. Learning how to structure your workday, manage your workload and set achievable personal goals will help you remain motivated and productive, alleviating the concerns of employers.

Learn to work with AI

One topic that’s currently causing a significant amount of concern for remote workers is the increasing adoption of AI in the workplace. In fact, 54% of remote employees believe their jobs are likely to change due to disruption from AI. While these fears are not unfounded, with companies estimating up to 70% of their workforce will use AI to automate some essential tasks by 2028, the adoption of AI won’t necessarily replace remote workers.

If employees are to future-proof their remote careers, they will need to learn to embrace AI technology by learning how to integrate popular AI systems into their existing workflows. AI skills are likely to be in great demand in the coming years, with 42% of surveyed employers saying they’re actively looking for candidates with AI development skills. Becoming an early adopter of generative AI and machine learning solutions may prepare workers for the future.

Commit to continuous learning

As demonstrated by the rise of both alternative work models and AI, the modern landscape of employment is subject to rapid and significant change. To ensure that you’re not falling behind with regards to emerging trends and potential shifts within your industry, it’s wise to commit some of your time to the pursuit of continuous learning programs and training plans.

A view of a person working from home.

By enhancing your existing skills and broadening the knowledge-base from which you draw inspiration for your work, you’ll be in a better position to demonstrate expertise and value to potential employers. Not only will this help you to optimize skills directly related to your role, but it will aid you in offering valuable insights and opinions that may benefit wider processes.

Enhance your personal brand

Finally, remote workers must consider how their personal online brand may be perceived by potential employers. In lieu of in-person interviews in which candidates have some degree of control over their representation, employers can often only gauge the professional and personal accomplishments of remote workers via the content they choose to share online.

Taking the time to optimize your professional social media accounts can help you to present a desirable image to potential employers. Make sure that your work history is up to date, with your accomplishments clearly highlighted and well-described, while also making efforts to share thought leadership content and personal achievements to enhance your online image.


As the world of remote work continues to change, both employers and employees must find new ways to navigate professional landscapes. While it’s unlikely that remote positions will disappear in the near future, the skills required to excel in these roles may begin the change.

For remote workers to future-proof their careers, they must understand why some employers may be wary of these roles and be committed to disproving such notions through hard work and proactive problem solving. Focusing on self-motivation, developing desirable skills, and optimizing your online presence will also help to demonstrate value and effectively future-proof your remote career.