7 Reasons Why Companies Shouldn't Go Back to the Office After COVID-19
Feb 16, 2020
Offices were necessary before:
- the internet
- portable electronics
They’re now obsolete
The 2008 financial collapse killed the vanity office and marked the rise of co-working spaces. Real estate was so expensive companies could no longer justify having them.
Co-working spaces work by stuffing more people into less space. The office was originally the optimum place to do deep focussed work. It survives as an open-plan adult kids club.
Workers now waste 600+ hours a year commuting to an office to use technology that is literally designed to be used anywhere on the planet.
The office is dead: we'll never go back after this situation has passed:
1. 💰 Cost's too high
One company I recently spoke to spends $4,000+ per month per desk for workers to be in San Francisco. Factor in the huge salaries it takes to attract talent in big cities and the cost of doing business becomes too much.
Office-based companies can only hire the best talent in a 30-mile radius of the office, disqualifying themselves from 99.9% of the world's most talented people.
Remote companies won't just be more talented, they will also be more diverse.
2. 📢 Focus impossible
Getting work done in an open-plan office is hard. Constant distractions and disruptions from colleagues and unnecessary meetings. Everyone resorts to noise-canceling headphones.
To do great work, you need space and isolation to do it. Remote lets everyone have a private office, where they can set their schedule to be most productive.
3. 🤡 Disruption's default
Instantaneous gratification is the default setting of the modern world. This has permeated every part of our lives and the workplace is no exception. Got a problem? Workers brazenly interrupt their colleagues to get an answer. Never mind that it will take that person 30 minutes to get back into the flow they were knocked out of.
Collaboration is used interchangeably as an excuse for disruption. Teamwork is necessary, instantaneous access or responses are not for 99.99% of situations.
4. 🏠 Workers want remote
98% of workers would like to work remotely in their career.
5. 🚘 Commuting 25 days a year
I became a remote worker because I didn't want to waste my life sitting in a pollution emitting steel coffin every day on my way to work. Having founded my first business we started out with the intention of being fully distributed. It was a revelation.
Nothing has delivered a higher quality of life than this. I now workout, read and eat with my family every morning in less time than my previous commute.
Commuting is a tax you pay on your quality of life daily.
6. ⏰ Time in office is the Tool of Bad Managers
We've all had bad managers whose only metric for measuring performance is how much time you sat in your seat in the office. Remote work requires companies to understand and measure performance in better ways than this.
Remote teams will measure output rather than time as their metric of performance, and as a result, they will be far more productive and efficient.
7. 🏓 Adult kids clubs
Bean bags, beer fridges, games consoles and ping pong tables. People don't want more playful offices, they want more trust, balance, control, flexibility, and autonomy to do the best work they have ever done.
Companies that want to attract/retain world-class talent need to offer trust, not toys. They need to give workers what they want: more remote working opportunities.
What's holding back the rise of remote?
In 2019, Doist received 9,249 applications across all their openings and only added 9 people to their team (or 0.1% of all applicants). There is a lot of demand for remote jobs, but not enough supply. The bottom line is we need more remote companies.
- not enough jobs to go round
- huge demand for remote roles
- remote = access to great talent
- exponential growth is inevitable
There is a huge first-mover advantage for remote companies to increase the talent level way beyond office-first companies. Every company that refuses to offer remote work will be replaced by a remote-first company eventually.
- attract talent
- retain best people
- maintain engagement
- expand talent pool globally
It’s not enough to ‘go remote’
Companies need to understand how to do it, becoming more effective and productive. It's not enough to begin with a desire to do something without an understanding of how to do it.
- They need to leverage the benefits of remote working not replicate the bad parts of office work because it’s familiar.
- They need to understand asynchronous over synchronous working otherwise they will destroy the biggest benefits that remote work should deliver.
A bad remote working experience could be as deadly for companies as not making the transition at all.
Everyone is coming to the conclusion at the same time
- Remote work's inevitable
- regulatory compliance is imperative
- a great experience is key to retention
- remote workers should be safer, more comfortable and productive at home than they would be in an office, letting them do the best work they ever have
- human connection and culture will be incredibly important.
Companies want an easy way to guarantee these things.
Building a previous company we realized how broken remote work setup is. We wanted our team to have a great experience at home, but it was expensive, time-consuming and things never turned up on time. Setting up remote workers at home was broken.
Nothing existed to make it easy to do that – so we built it.
What is Firstbase?
Firstbase is the only all-in-one provisioning platform that lets companies provide all the physical tools and equipment their remote workers need at the touch of a button. We let you develop a remote working strategy instantly and take care of everything on your behalf.
We save you time getting a remote worker set up at home, let you spread the cost over 3-years and deliver, maintain, upgrade and repair the materials while they are deployed.