According to Global Workplace Analytics, the average company saves about $11,000 per year per employee who works at least 50% of the time in the home office or remotely. For the worker, that savings can be $1,500 to $4,000 per year. This is a lot of money, especially if we consider the crisis the whole world’s crisis.
In a more advanced stage of vaccination against Covid-19, some American states are already calling their workers back to their offices, and the complaint has been great. Many people are refusing to return, even threatening to resign. The American political class is already discussing making it a law to ban the firing of productive employees who do not want to return to work physically. For this reason, some companies more in line with ESG practices are beginning to invite their employees to plan their return to work together. These companies want, through dialogue, to find a compromise for the return without losing the advantages that all of us have perceived during the three semesters we have worked from home.
The fact is that we have already lived through a pandemic, but we have not yet had the opportunity to experience a post-pandemic. Therefore, this text is an invitation to understand this challenge better and, based on this, to influence and act affirmatively so that the return is indeed better for everyone.
Before we move on, we need to understand that the home office is one of the forms of remote work and that not returning to the office opens a wide range of options for an employee, who can work from a coworking, café, or park near his residence. In addition, the professional has the freedom to work from a friend’s house, from another city, or even from another continent, exploring, at any time of the year, this big world.
It is also necessary to expand the concept we have of home office during the pandemic – when, in an improvised way, we set up a more isolated corner of the house, with children and pets crossing the screen and distracting our attention, or even feeling like we are in prison.
It is also necessary to expand the concept that we have of
All this when we have the privilege of having an isolated space to call “ours” – given that the vast majority of Americans do not have remote work as an option.
In any case, we can no longer all go back to offices together, not least because in many cases, they no longer exist in many cases, at least in the shape and size they had before the pandemic. We can no longer fit all together in the “firm.” Today, the available spaces must be shared by everyone, respecting the needs of those who need to be technically present or the priority of people who don’t have the necessary infrastructure to work from their homes. The home office also contributes to a positive urban exodus. A documentary on the subject developed by the company shows that, because of remote work, 57% of people are migrating to the beach or countryside.
The digital age is transforming the world, so we can no longer return to the past from the comfort of our bays. This is part of the future of work that is already being built today. A complete re-signification of everything, even the space-time. In this world, it will no longer make sense for all of us to be programmed to operate from 9 am to 6 pm, like an assembly line. The logic of digital is different – collaborative software allows remote, collective and simultaneous work far beyond what we imagine or what we do today.
This future recognizes that we are diverse. Some people prefer to work in the morning, others at dawn, and others at night. Some people can organize and deliver their weekly results in four days. Some people want to take their children to school, who like to take care of their health or to replenish their energy by traveling, for example. With this, the logic of the seven-day week will likely be dismantled. In this future, we will have more freedom to organize life more humanly and productively. A future that will impact everything we live in today, with fewer clustered offices and less commuting. The city center concept will also change – everything will become more decentralized, which will be a public challenge: to include people more in life and work from their neighborhoods. With less traffic, less pollution, there is more time and autonomy.
Companies will then have the chance to include and further equalize opportunities among their diverse employees, offering, reinforcing, and extending remote working conditions for the less fortunate. With businesses operating again without loss, it will be possible to use the savings generated by remote work to provide adequate furniture, equipment, and Wi-Fi, as well as safe spaces spread throughout the city’s neighborhoods.