As the coronavirus outbreak evolves into the most disruptive force we have faced in modern times; people are now looking at operating in a new, unprecedented reality. Amid rapid change, Leaders are looking for ways to reimagine and rebuild more resilient systems. This means rethinking what we know, understanding the long-term changes, embracing new perspectives and insights by mining, and refining the real-time data to design new systems.
The combination of the expanded internet infrastructure, computers, and cell phones have allowed companies to support a global workforce and client base for quite a while now. However, it was not until the current pandemic that leaders were willing to embrace remote work.
Boards and C-Suite Executives are wrestling with the risks vs. rewards of requiring employees to return to work in their office buildings. It is becoming increasingly difficult to justify to top talent why they need to be in the office where their productivity suffers, and they may risk their health and those they come in contact with while at work.
Zillow Z CEO Rich Barton willingly admits that he thought the sudden shift of knowledge workers from office workers to remote workers had turned his view on remote work upside down. He recently tweeted.
Today we let our team know they have flexibility to work from home (or anywhere) through the end of 2020. My personal opinions about WFH have been turned upside down over the past 2 months. I expect this will have a lasting influence on the future of work ... and home. Stay safe.— Rich Barton (@Rich_Barton) April 25, 2020
Microsoft MSFT will allow nonessential employees to work remotely through October. Google parent Alphabet GOOGL, Facebook FB, Slack WORK, and Salesforce CRM don’t expect their workers to return until 2021 and maybe even not then. Twitter TWTR went as far as saying that their employees don’t have to ever come back into the office.
It would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that eventually, the majority of people outside of technology will get back to the office. This line of thinking is out of touch with the way companies are approaching the future of work and pre-pandemic statistics. The pre-pandemic average utilization of an office was only 40% in 2018.
CFOs are evaluating money spent making remote work possible to determine their return on investment. They are finding that the combination of an increase in productivity and the cost savings of not bringing employees back to underutilized spaces is revealing significant ROI. CBRE estimates that the typical company in the U.S. spends upward of $12,000 per employee per year for office space.
Boundless jobs are simply jobs that can be done anywhere and are not tied to a physical place or geography and not tied to a specific time zone.
The future of work will gravitate toward boundless jobs. It is not a cliche to state that digitalization is human. The biggest roadblocks that companies are facing for creating more resilient companies are shortages in 21st Century digital skills. One Billion workers must reskill to meet the growing need for emerging skillsets. The growing skill-shortage gap will make adoption of remote work and distributed workforces less of a pandemic driven discussion and more of a business survival initiative.
In the interim, advances in technology have opened the possibility for companies to recruit top employees globally. Changing to a boundless job talent recruiting strategy in the short term will reduce real estate costs. In the long term, boundless jobs and a boundless hypoconnectivity structure will be the key to corporate resilience and growth.
By the year 2050, 70% of the urban population, or 6.5 billion people, will inhabit cities globally.
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