I have mentioned before that this is going to be an interesting thing to watch going forward:
Though the arrival of a novel virus isn’t the best circumstance for a company to be forced into remote work, Caplan does hope there will be an even bigger shift toward this type of professional option, because the “cat is out of the bag.”
“Coronavirus is going to expose more people to working remotely than ever,” he says. “Most people will see that it is very possible and start to grow accustomed to the benefits of [remote work], including autonomy, no commute, and less distractions than open offices. Companies that don’t allow remote work already are going to have to continue supporting it going forward, now that they have proven to themselves that it works.”
So far, we’ve learned a couple of things. Being home with your whole family is definitely a challenge, but that wouldn’t be the case under normal circumstances, but for other people I’m hearing a whole lot of “I get so much more done” from them. And it’s true. They aren’t commuting, they are able to learn about their industry from webinars and other online activities without being blocked, or having all of their coworkers seeing their screens, they’re able to adjust their work schedules as things happen, instead of sitting at the desk for 8 hours regardless of the workflow, and they are going to want to continue doing that. To attract talent, you’re going to need to offer it, or watch people walk away for places that will.
But, it won’t happen all at once. No, the economic downturn may leave a lot of people hesitant to leave at first, but they know, and they’ll remember what it was like to work remotely, and when given the chance, they’ll jump.
And companies based in expensive cities, are going to remember that the work didn’t necessarily suffer when everyone was working from home, and start thinking about how much less expensive it could be to pay employees who don’t have to live in this expensive places.
It’s a win-win when you can make it work. Smart organizations will find that way when possible.