Is office-centricity over?
The CoVid-19 pandemic acted as a booster for an already ongoing de-centralization process, but will smaller companies take the leap?
The Covid-19 pandemic acted as an enzyme accelerating some already ongoing processes and forced a significant portion of the working population to acknoledge the existence, necessity and perks of remote working (hey, boomers!).
If up to just a few months ago for some companies this practice was a remote idea (no pun intended) and a generation of managers saw it as an “excuse”, today the possibilities offered by technology for remote working turned out not only necessary but lately a way to save companies from going out of business.
One thing we need to point out is that what most of us ended up doing was more about trying to work from home while being forced inside by a global emergency than working from remote for a company built around this possibility.
Larger tech companies are already blazing trails into the new landscape of the work economy announcing significant changes to their office-centric organizational strucure which will likely mirror a shift in company culture.
Facebook just announced that the reopening of its offices worldwide will entail stringent safety measures (25% occupancy) and that they’re planning for permanent remote workers.
This move is highly representative of a cultural shift but at the same time, predictably it entails another important aspect: salaries will likely change to match the local cost of living.
Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke announced announced on Thursday that the E-commerce platform will keep offices closed until 2021 and even after that, plans are to let most employees work remotely in the future.
Undoubtedly this situation blazed through the world economy but in the Western world labour market in particular, carried along some unexpected side effects and just like a wildfire, burned down the good, the bad and the useless such as the eponymous meetings that could have been an email.
Although digitally-based industries may be better suited to work from home, the idea to make work more flexible, arguing that it can be done with the right infrastructure, to the benefit of both employees and employers comes from way before the current global situation.
If on a hand, having a common physical space can be the fastest gateway to nurture company culture, foster innovation and brew creative ideas in a safe environment, the current situation unfortunately disrupted this model and forced us to find new ways “to make work work for us”.
The best description perhaps can be summed up by the headline of this article by Jesse Yeung for CNN: the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment has been triggered by coronavirus.