Last week I wrote about what I thought were the three most significant changes over the past decade. Two were technology, ubiquitous Internet and mobile. The third was the tectonic shift they set off in business: the dispersal of talent.
My point was I noticed a major shift from everyone “going to the office” to a double-digit percentage working remotely in just a few years.
Talent used to accumulate where the jobs were. But now that we’ve de-coupled “work” from “place,” it’s pretty much free to go anywhere… This, in turn, means that businesses can no longer limit their searches for the best qualified to their own backyard. Now it can be anywhere.
Two days after I wrote that, The Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “Will 5G Reinvent Working From Home?” (subscription) which noted “According to a 2019 “Future Workforce Report” by Upwork, 74% of millennial and Gen-Z managers have employees who work a “significant” portion of their time remotely…”
In other words, remote work for the largest and (soon to be) second largest segment of the workforce is normal.
This morning Condé Nast publication, Ars Techica, published “The tools and tricks that let Ars Technica function without a physical office”. Subtitled “Looking at the ‘future of work’ with a team that’s been living it for two decades,” it’s a great look into how the editorial team from a top notch pub produces great material week in and week out without the expense of an office.
A remote workforce may not work for every business, but as we get further into a digital and services-based economy, there’s going to be less resistance and more demand for it. The companies that embrace it will get the double benefit of happier workers and helping the environment by keeping cars off the road.