Location-independent. Knowledge workers are not dependent on location and don't need to be in an office.
Location-frequent. These people spend half their time in an office and half remote. They need an in-person base to use for coordination and physical meetings. These are often salespeople, marketing people, back-office services (IT, HR, finance), and creative jobs.
Mandatory in-office jobs. These involve specialized equipment that you can't put in an employee's home, such as manufacturing jobs.
Far more job functions can be done remotely if company leadership will accept it. But, remote work is not for everyone. Some jobs are tied to physical locations or equipment. Some people also do not want to work from home.
The single biggest mistake companies can make is to opt to be remote-friendly instead of remote-first. Companies often accept the idea that remote is the future of work without creating an inclusive culture to ensure it works for everyone.
Remote-friendly environment: Employees are allowed to work remotely, but work is not optimized for it. There is a disconnect between office and remote employees and team meetings exclusively occur in a co-located time zone. Water cooler chat is a space for key decisions and presence is correlated with meaningful work. Communication is synchronous-first. Managers must work in the office.
Remote-first companies: Employees are empowered to adopt remote work. Real-time meetings are kept to a minimum and recorded. Decisions are made online and performance is measured by output, not by hours worked. Communication is asynchronous-first. Managers are encouraged to work from home.
Hybrid companies function best when the entire company is optimized for remote work. Successful hybrid teams set up processes to help their remote workers thrive alongside their office teammates.
Leadership must acknowledge the various challenges remote workers face and create solutions. Create a remote work policy that keeps remote workers and contractors from feeling like second class team members. Remote workers should feel fully connected and not missing a thing.