Is remote work over?
It’s official. Yesterday, June 30, 2021, was the end of the pandemic; at least, it’s the end in Oregon. Governor Kate Brown has re-opened the state for business, and as for a few exceptions, life, as we knew it in February of 2020, should be getting back to normal. Now that’s just Oregon, but we followed Washington, who took their queue from California–or so it seemed. Whatever the order, from a business perspective, it’s nice to have the pandemic in the rearview mirror. But do we think things will go back to normal? As a country, we learned many lessons during the past 15.5 months, and one of the most important ones was “how” we define work and “where” it takes place.
Remote Work Isn't New; The Pandemic Just Accelerated It
Published in October of 2013, The book: Remote: Office Not Required by, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson defined a different approach to work. Many loved it, and many despised the book’s “against the grain” approach to corporate culture. What nobody knew was that it was the blueprint for 2020.
Much like the volatility in the lumber market, remote working was not something bourne out of the pandemic. Many U.S. companies already had established hybrid flex-time models in place. If you think about it, most national sales teams are already working remote-first. The pandemic just made remote working mainstream, and it extended it company-wide. Those who already had established policies and procedures in place didn’t skip a beat. Others had to play catch-up, and companies with no provisions in place either adapted quickly or expired.
Business Will Carry The Burden Post-Pandemic
Post-pandemic life will not be dependent on the government. Businesses will carry this burden, and one of the topics on every whiteboard in 2021 is how we deal with remote working moving forward. If the remote working experiment during COVID-19 failed, the decision would be easy. But it didn’t, and now companies are faced with weaving it into their cultures full-time.
Upwork estimates that “1 in 4 Americans, which is over 26% of the American workforce, is expected to work remotely through 2021. Remote working isn’t going away.”
Some Form Of Remote Working Is Here To Stay
According to Apollo Technical Talent Solutions, “several studies over the past few months show productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive.” Shocking right? It shouldn’t be but there are piles of statistics like this that favor remote working.
It’s better for employees, better for the environment, and more cost-effective for employers. It’s a win-win-win, and that’s why so many employers have decided to embrace some form of remote working. BuildRemote is developing a list of companies that permanently work remotely—whether fully remote, remote-first, remote-optional, or remote-partial. Check out who made the list. It’s fascinating!
Remote Work, Not COVID-19 Is Responsible For Americans Migrating Away From Metropolitan Regions
In 2020 Americans began to migrate to less populated areas of the country. It’s continued through the first half of 2021 and is predicted through the end of the year. According to The Harris Poll, 39% of people living in urban areas revealed COVID-19 caused them to consider leaving for more space. According to Neighbor.com, “Over 20% more people are planning to move in 2021 than moved in 2020.” Unexpectedly, however, “the majority of these movers aren’t relocating due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.”
The Neighbor 2020-2021 American Migration Report surveyed over 1,000 U.S. based respondents, and “while 18% of respondents who plan to move in 2021 are able to do so as a result of job flexibility brought on by the 2019 coronavirus, most are ultimately doing so to lower their cost of living.” With “more” living space comprising a core factor in where people are moving, about 40% of movers are relocating from larger cities to smaller ones.
It's A Seller's Market
Remote working has provided Americans an opportunity to quickly sell their homes in metropolitan regions at a premium and move anywhere there is an Internet connection. Americans are taking advantage of rolling their equity into these opportunities. It’s a seller’s market, and the housing forecast for 2021 is still good. You will probably receive more than the asking price for your home, giving you additional money to invest in a change of pace. An upgrade in lifestyle at little to no additional investment sounds pretty good.
Is Social Distancing Here To Stay Too?
After dealing with COVID-19 for over a year, Americans want to get away. Remote working is making that possible moving forward. People see the opportunity to have that dream home or cabin retreat with added outdoor space and less restricted areas. Social distancing might be here to stay as well. Design is trending towards modern structures with large decks, porches, spacious backyards with more room to breathe—more space to live and enjoy life.
The desire for more freedom has American movers flocking to Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Central Oregon, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. Surprisingly, they are not all leaving. Many are moving away from the California coast inland, buying land, and building larger homes. That’s right, even though more people are moving away from California than ever, many are just going 20+ miles East to build larger homes that are more affordable than the city. Again, we see the same trend. They are just seeking a little breathing room. Others are going to central regions and even up into the mountains to build cabin retreats.
The growth of remote work opportunities in the U.S. is causing a massive shift in 2021. According to Upwork, Between 14 and 23 million Americans are planning to relocate due to remote work opportunities. Furthermore, “more than half (54.7%) are moving more than two hours away from their current location. Those with remote-working jobs no longer have to adhere to the high housing costs of massive labor markets. A large portion of those individuals are taking advantage of the opportunity of less expensive homes.”
As more Americans work remotely, its desirability has increased.” And, if Americans don’t already have a work-from-home job that allows them to live where they want, they’re looking for one.
Additional Relocation Resources For Remote Employees