I Spoke to 2,000 Companies About Their Plans for Remote Work After Covid

Chris Herd
4 min readMay 6, 2021

The question on every business leader’s mind right now is this: what will we do when offices can open again?

Over the last 12 months I spoke to over 2,000 companies about their plans for remote working after Covid.

This is what I learned.

  1. 🏢 HQ’s are finished: companies will cut their commercial office space by 50–70%. They will allow every worker to work from home 2–4 days a week, and come into the office 1–2 days a week
  2. 🌍 Fully distributed: ~30% of the companies we talk to are getting rid of the office entirely and going remote-firs. Companies doing this have seen their workers decentralize rapidly, leaving expensive cities to be closer to family
  3. ⭐️ Access talent: The first reason they are going remote-first is simple — it lets them hire more talented people. Rather than hiring the best person in a 30-mile radius of the office, they can hire the best person in the world for every role
  4. 💰 Cut costs: The second reason they are going remote-first is because it lets them be far more cost-efficient. Rather than spending $20,000 / worker / year on office space they can provide the best remote setup on the planet for $2,000 / worker / year
  5. 📈 Remote burnout: The productivity inside the companies we’ve spoken to has gone through the roof. Their biggest concern is that workers burnout because they are working too hard. They are actively exploring ways to combat this
  6. ✈️ Remote onsites: 60%+ of companies we talk to are already thinking about ways to use time together physically to improve culture. The most popular we hear is flying the team into remote locations for ~week. Portugal, Spain, Puerto Rico seem to be the most popular
  7. 💃 Personal choice: the smartest people I know personally are all planning to work remotely this decade. The most exciting companies I know personally all plan to hire remotely this decade. 90% of the workforces we’ve spoken to never want to be in an office again full-time
  8. 🚨 Async by default: is the thing that organizations are struggling with most. The majority of companies have replicated the office remotely and it is causing strains that are beginning to show
  9. 🤕 Personal injury: These are exploding. Companies haven’t moved quickly enough to prevent them and back, neck and repetitive strain injuries are becoming a huge problem. Expect this to remedy this quickly by providing better, ergonomic equipment to workers
  10. 🌐 Universal problems: doesn’t matter the size of the organization, every company is dealing with the same thing. We spoke to early-stage companies, publicly listed tech companies, through to legacy incumbents with hundreds of thousands of employees. All will be more remote
  11. 🏭 Pollution reduction: many companies we’ve spoken to care massively about the environmental impact that eradicating the office — and the commute — will have. 108 million tons of Co2 less every year
  12. ❤️ Quality of life: even more importantly companies are realizing that they don’t need to expect workers to waste 2 hours a day commuting to sit in an office chair for 8 hour. Almost every company we talk to believes that their workers will be happier as a result of remote work
  13. 😨 Remote pressure: a few companies we’ve spoken to have decided to be more remote than they initially intended because their competitors already did it. There is a fear inside companies that if they don’t go remote they will lose their best people to their competitors
  14. 👻 Remote fear: most companies aren’t scared about the quality of work that will be produced. They are scared about intangible things they can’t measure. ‘Quality of communication’ && ‘collaboration in person’ && ‘water cooler chat’. Many have realized these were excuses
  15. 🚀 Output over time: the measure of performance in the office is how much time you spend sat in your seat. The measure of performance while working remotely has to become output. Tools that enable this to be tracked more accurately are something we are asked for a lot
  16. ✍️ Written over spoken: documentation is the unspoken superpower of remote teams. The most successful team members remotely will be great writers. Companies are searching for ways to do this more effectively. Tools that enable others to write better will explode
  17. 👨‍💼 Flattened orgs: middle management is in trouble, an unnecessary bottlenecks which serve no tangible purpose inside async organizations. Companies need coaching and facilitators to maximize organizational effectiveness
  18. 🎟 Company Resorts: Several companies are thinking about creating resort like compounds where work happens in person. Expect these to be built in incredible locations and focussed on providing the best on-site experience possible
  19. 👩‍⚖️ Remote Laws: Many companies are beginning to operate under the assumption that the choice to work remotely will become a legal right. This will give workers the option to choose where they work, and many companies are acting before they are forced
  20. 🛑 Meeting Death: Wasting 2 hours traveling to a meeting will end. The benefits of in-person are eroded by the benefits of not traveling. Conferences and quarterly networking events will become more important for cultivating in-person relationships
  21. 🎳 Internal community: Team cohesion and company culture isn’t impossible remotely — but it’s very different. In the same way companies are finally realizing the power of community externally — internal community may become even more important to a companies success

Why are these companies talking to me? FirstbaseHQ.com



Chris Herd

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌