Remote Work has Accelerated 10 years in 10 days
Jan 5, 2020
The only things that could pull people back to the office is the ego of bad middle manager scared of losing control
Millions of workers are experiencing the life-changing benefits of organizing work around your life rather than the other way around. This flexibility has come with certain caveats. Many of us are having to continue our work while homeschooling our children and even with that the universal benefits of no longer having to waste 600 hours are obvious.
Here are the excuses that have been destroyed in those 10 days:
1. 🏢 We need an office to function
Reality: We don't need an office to function and we now have the evidence.
All the excuses for in-person collaboration being far better than virtual communication have been dispelled in days. In-person might be preferable, but at most it is 5% better, at worst it is a marginal improvement which nobody cares about.
Implication: Companies with extensive real-estate footprints won't be economically competitive with remote-first companies doing the same thing.
2. ⌛We need meetings to function
Reality: Unnecessary meetings waste lives.
The status quo was traveling an hour for a meeting that lasted 30 minutes before traveling an hour back. Companies everywhere are discovering you can jump on a Zoom call, it only takes 30 minutes, and most of them aren't even necessary anyway.
Implication: In-person meetings will become the exception while online video calls will become the new normal.
3. 🤝 How can we trust our remote teams to work
Reality: Remote workers are more productive than office-based staff.
Offices are distraction factory adult kids clubs where it's impossible to do deep focussed work. Remote work lets every single person have a private space to do deep work without disruption.
Implication: Companies that can't do remotely well won't be able to attract the best people and will be far less productive.
5. 🤹 Our Office Culture is Different
Reality: Your culture is largely homogeneous and it decreases diversity.
The office is great for certain people at certain stages of their lives but terrible for others. The lack of flexibility and accessibility leads to a lack of diversity in organization and a lot of people who are very similar to themselves working in and enjoying offices.
Implication: Office-first teams will be less diverse and talented than remote-first.
6. 🍀 Office Cooler Chat is our Lifeblood
Reality: If your problems get solved at the water cooler your processes are broken.
I hear this from people at offices globally. It is largely nonsense. Every time I ask someone for an example they don't personally have one before resorting to anecdotes about 'this one time'. Serendipity is one thing, hoping your companies solve problems by relying on luck is another. Remote work can lead to the same serendipitous collisions but they can be recorded and opened up for the entire organization to participate, not just the person who happens to be standing out of chance.
Implication: Manufactured serendipity is far more effective
The Office is Finished
Forcing your team to travel to an arbitrary location where workers use equipment that is designed to work anywhere on the planet. The 9-5 workdays exists as a by-product of the industrial revolution. Offices exist as a by-product of technology only being available on site.
This is no longer true, and continuing to work this way because it's the way things have always been done is incredibly dumb.
In the past, an office was a sign that a company had made it
Now they are a millstone around the neck of companies. An exorbitant cost with no rational explanation as to why companies should continue to pay for it. Soon, office space will lead to significant questions of economic sensibility.
In the current economy, companies live and die by their talent. Remote work will lead to the biggest disruption of the workforce in history. Great talent has more control than ever before to dictate terms of employment to their companies at the point they join a company and that will increasingly lead to them demanding to operate remotely.
The smartest people I know personally ALL plan to work remotely in the next decade
The remote workers I know would NEVER work for a company that wasn't remote again
The best companies I know personally ALL plan to hire remotely in the next decade
The remote companies I know would NEVER employ a worker than wasn't remote again
That's what non-remote companies are up against. The best, most exciting companies only offering remote work. Their costs will be significantly lower. Their average talent level will be significantly higher. That married to the fact almost every talented person on the planet wants more remote working opportunities means this is the perfect storm.
How Do I Develop a Remote Strategy?
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