What are the chances that this current transition to remote work will remain after the COVID-19 situation will be over?
I like to use the concept of “Critical mass” when thinking about remote work. The benefits of remote work and the ability to stick with it are getting better as more companies do it.
It’s risky to go all-in on a new way of working when it’s on the edge. Losing the skills for working in the office in a world where remote work is rare might be risky in the long run, expecting you might have to go back to the office at some point.
But COVID-19 gives us this “critical mass” situation. Where remote work is widespread enough, that it is actually the other way around. It is risky not having the skills to work remotely going forward.
More remote positions mean optionality
As the current situation forced many to try remote work, it also proved to many that remote work is not only feasible but actually better.
This led many companies to embrace remote work for even after the situation will be over. Companies nobody thought will adopt remote work before.
Want to work for FAANG? Facebook already declared it will support remote forever. Google is remote through July 2021, and we all know this means remote is supported forever minus the declaration.
Want to work for any Fortune 500 company? Multiple Fortune 500 companies across industries offer fully remote jobs.
For smaller companies, we already had large enough support for remote jobs, which is now even more widespread.
The point is, where in the past we had to look pretty hard for a remote position, and often give up on working in many tempting companies for this, in the future, this will no longer be the case.
People are already moving out
Remote work rent market signal:— Snir David (Remote) (@snird) August 3, 2020
Zumper rent report marks:
- 1 bedroom SF -2.4% this month, -11.1% YoY
- 2 bedroom SF -3.0% this month, -12.1% YoY
SF small apartments are typically young singles working in tech.
This is not the cleanest data, but it can mark a trend.
Moving out is not an easy process. That’s also why we first see the singles in small apartments move.
As times go by, and remote work remains, there is less and less reason to tolerate high living cost for a place that doesn’t provide any additional value or quality of life.
Slowly people are moving out. And amongst them great talents.
Once you moved out and have a better quality of life, for whatever reason. Be it living alongside your family, bigger house in the suburbs, or living in a city with a unique culture you admire. Giving up this new quality of life is hard.
Up until now, people gave it up for job and career opportunities. But now, with so many opportunities in remote, it makes no sense to give up this quality of life.
Soon enough, companies that’ll insist on working in an office will find themselves unable to attract great talent. Why give up the benefits for one specific company when there are a lot more that does not demand it?
It’s much more than “where you live”
Living wherever you want is the hardest thing to change when a company demands your physical attendance. But working in an office means giving up so much more, that once you are used to it, is too hard to give up.
- (Real) flexible hours. Work whenever suits you.
- Much better work-life balance. Because of the flexible hours, you can have lunch with your partner. Take your kids out of school. Live.
- Focus. When did you last able to focus in an office?
To keep this post short I’ll stop here, but you get the point.
As long as this situation goes on, the chances we will go back to an office goes down. Dramatically.