- Coronavirus is making significant changes to both work and to workplaces.
- We cover what some of the essential likely changes.
There has been so much focus on the Coronavirus that there has been far less thought on the long-term impacts of the virus on the future of work. This, not fighting the Coronavirus, is our focus in this article.
See our references for this article and related articles at this link.
The Future of Work
This video describes the future compression of world economies.
The Future of Work Places
This video describes the decline of commercial real estate and how many white-collar jobs will move to remote work. Malls have already been dramatically impacted by e-commerce even before Corona — so this is just more shrinkage for malls.
A Dated Design from Before Computers Was Used in Work
Much of modern offices date to the design prior to computers. The reality is that corporate offices are not an efficient way of working. I have known this for many years, but have been forced to be “on-site” to be allowed to bill clients.
I have been wondering why we have not been taking advantage of remote work for quite some time now.
Massive Real Estate Bubbles in Major Cities
While it has never been easier to work remotely (think of the low-cost videoconferencing services like Zoom), we continue to have people globally flooding into exorbitantly priced cities.
Congestion Without End
The congestion just seems to increase without end. A significant reason for these bubbles is that companies have required their employees to work “in an office.” These offices are located in costly cities. And the higher paying the job, typically the higher likelihood that the job will require a location to the most expensive cities.
Governments do not give incentives or advisement to companies that do not need information workers to be continuously transported to congested areas to stop this practice.
A Lack of Creativity on the Part of Companies for Work Environments
We have all the tools at our disposal — from Google Sheets to share schedules, to phones, to Zoom for screen sharing, to email. And yet, we still follow a model of making employees converge on a specific building.
Furthermore, corporations have shown themselves to be utterly disinterested in making simple changes to their work environments that could significantly improve the quality of life of their employees and dramatically reduce the strain on infrastructure and the carbon footprint of work. Moving a human requires a great deal of energy and consumption.
Moving the information created by a worker requires an incredibly small amount of energy.
Under the Coronavirus changes, we have not witnessed the slowdown on the Internet that many predicted. That is quite an achievement and testament to the scalability of the Internet infrastructure.
Fiber optics are a fantastic invention that has a near limitless bandwidth.
Google Cloud’s data centers are modern engineering marvels. The movement of data vast distances and the storage of data is a simple matter for Internet infrastructure. Developed countries could go through a renaissance ecology if more white-collar workers were primarily transitioned to remote work. Already, people that work in offices are often in communication electronically with people they never meet in far-flung offices. What is the need to continue to go into one particular office?
Questions Related to The Current Location and Design fo Modern Offices
- What happens when the time in commuting the health effects of being in constant congestion, and the carbon footprint of unending commuting are added up?
- How can on-site work possibly compete with remote work for efficiency or ecology?
A Personal Perspective on Remote Work
I work with people living in different countries. I fact, I am currently working with no one even in the US, much less in my city. And I fell I lose nothing from this entirely remote situation. Could I say the same thing if I were working back in 1985?
Of course not.
Back in 1985, I would not know any of the people I work with today. However, with modern technology, it is a simple thing and second nature.
It is important not to overreact to the impacts of the Coronavirus.
However, this article argues that the Coronavirus will simply “reveal” a more efficient and more cost-effective way of working that was enabled by technology long ago — but which companies were simply too caught up in the past to leverage.