How Will A Remote Work Revolution Affect Our World

The idea of working from home was one which was gaining in popularity long before anyone had heard the phrase “Covid-19”. It’s a little odd, then, that the concept has come in for some skeptical scrutiny in the last couple of years, as many people advance the argument that workers getting back to the office is an essential part of the recovery. We can debate the relevant points on whether a return to “normal” is inevitable or desirable until the cows come home, but it doesn’t seem likely that people are going to willingly give up on remote working if it’s working for them.


For the purposes of this piece, it’s worth taking the personal opinions – of both employees and employers – out of the argument and looking at how remote working is going to affect everything else. We all know only too well that mankind is dealing with a lot right now – there are countless debates being held on topics that affect our future. That may have been the case for a while, but it’s hard to remember a time when so many were going on simultaneously. Against a background of such big questions, how does the remote working debate fit into these big issues?


Economics: Does working from home add up?


If your living is in commercial real estate, then the chances are that you don’t love the idea of working from home – but you might just be overruled simply on the numbers. Businesses aren’t going to want to rent premises if they don’t have to, and employees absolutely despise commuting, so finding another use for those commercial units might be in your interest. If employers can downsize their offices, and employees have an extra hour in bed each morning, then this is one area where most of the sides are in broad agreement on the future – and delivery companies are on the same page too.


Environment: Is there a simple answer?


If you are presently working from home, then cast your mind back to when you had to commute. Are you seeing lines of traffic, irritated drivers and a clock moving quicker than any of the cars? That’s an evocative picture which explains why green-minded people are all for decentralized working. Traffic fumes and fuel consumption are both bad for the planet, so a more remote workforce could really help a lot of people. 


Remote working will mean more people needing to heat and cool their homes for longer, so enterprising employers might want to talk to their HVAC company on getting better deals for employees to make their home offices more comfortable. With efficient heating and cooling systems in place, the net result for the planet would be positive.


Personal well-being: Does office culture mean more than you thought?

One of the more common arguments against a remote workforce is that it will make people more remote, and have mental health consequences. And while it is an undeniable fact that working in the office can have negative effects on mental health too, it would be rash to dismiss the impacts of remote work. People can have difficulty switching off if they live where they work, and a reduction in human contact can affect some of us in ways we don’t even realize. It’s a good idea to have a plan for keeping spirits high among a remote workforce; we’re in the early days of what will likely become a norm for many people, and we don’t yet know everything about how to manage that.

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