The future of where people work will be in giving them choice & flexibility.
90% never want to work in an office full-time again
80% want to work from home 3+ days every week
46% want to work from home most or all the time
What’s obvious, is that remote will play a massive part in work going forward.
HSBC announced a remote strategy led by a 40% reduction in office space. They will allow almost all their workers to work remotely, likely from home, for a significant period of the week. Many large companies will follow suit.
That is just the start.
It’s important to acknowledge that millions of people have only experienced remote work during the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Once we emerge from the global pandemic — where there are no lockdowns and parents aren’t homeschooling their children — the major benefits of remote work really become apparent.
The challenge that the office has is that everything you can do in an office can be done to greater or lesser degree remotely. The benefits of remote working can never be experience while working in an office.
It’s impossible to escape the daily commute. Impossible to be there for dinner with your family if your train doesn’t get you back from the city until after 7. Impossible to travel while working if you’re handcuffed to a desk. Impossible to leave the expensive city if you have to commute every day. Impossible to have a higher disposable income you have to live close enough to commute daily. Impossible to find time for friends and family. Impossible to access opportunity without relocating.
Many of the expectation of modern working are a tax on your quality of life. Seeing as we never evolved as technology proliferated, we work in much the same way today as factory workers did in the industrial revolution. Sure, a lot has changed, but the fixed workday catering to the collective in pursuit of higher manufacturing productivity has not.
Forcing a fixed workday on knowledge workers is insanity. Productivity gains this decade will come from mass personalization. Enabling every individual to do the best work they have ever done in their lives. Letting them set their schedule and work when they want.
Remote work doesn’t mean you never see your team physically
Remote teams come together as regularly is necessary. That cadence is typically dictated by the type of work you are doing. For some companies they have to come together weekly, for others it is monthly,
Remote work doesn’t mean you have to work from home every day
Personally, when we’re living through what used to be considered normal times, I like to work from a coffee shop for a few hours. Other days I like to get into the city and work from a coworking space. The ability to choose where I work from is a super power.
Recent reports of people being “fatigued” with remote work miss the mark.
People are tired with Covid-enforced work from home, where they can’t see friends or family, or do the things that they want to do. People want to travel. Tick items off their bucket list.
To suggest people are missing a daily commute or that they ache for the office ignores the reality of human connection. I want to hug my parents. My partner wants to travel to the US and see her family. An office doesn’t even figure on a list of priorities post-pandemic.
That 80% of people want to less than two days a week not working at home isn’t that surprising.
That 80% of people want to work from home 3 days a week with the above considered should be
With coworking spaces, people attend initially. Quickly they start to realize they don’t need to work in person every day, so they work from home on Monday and Fridays. Quickly, nobody is attending at all because the benefits of working remotely are too hard to ignore.
The same things will happen with remote work.
This is a replay of eCommerce vs. Bricks and Mortar retail. That went like:
1. nobody will buy anything online
2. some people will buy some things online
3. most people will buy some things online
4. most people will buy most things online
We’re at stage 4 today, but as recently as 10yrs ago we were at stage 2
With remote work the cycle will be:
1. nobody will work remotely any of the time
2. some people will work remotely sometimes
3. most people will work remotely sometimes
4. most people will work remotely all the time
Millions of people want hybrid work today.