Oh, Malcolm, really?
Recently, Canadian writer Malcolm Gladwell made headlines by slamming the ever-growing work-from-home culture.
“It’s not in your best interests to work at home,” said Gladwell. “If you’re just sitting in your pyjamas in your bedroom, is that the work-life you want to live?”
His comments sparked lively online debate. Many pointed out his hypocrisy, given Gladwell has previously said publicly that he “hates desks” and works from the couch, and that he “basically gets paid to work from coffee shops.”
Others weighed in to highlight the huge benefits that a remote work culture has brought their company. For example, CEO Dan Price quipped on Twitter, “I'm CEO of a company that went remote two years ago. Last year we had our highest revenue and lowest employee turnover in our history (in 19 years). We also had about 300 applications per job opening.”
No matter which side of the remote work debate you’re on, it’s hard to deny that 2022 is the age of the ‘anywhere office’. Work-from-home options have swept the workforce, and many employees have shifted their daily reality to adjust to an office that’s steps away from their bedroom, cuts out the commute, and includes interesting new ways of connecting and collaborating with teammates (oh yeah, and time to walk the dog).
Studies highlight that productivity and happiness are up in employees who work from home. One recent study showed that those who worked remotely for 9 months were 13.5% more productive than their in-office counterparts. Another showed that remote work is highly correlated with happiness, demonstrating a 20% increase in employee happiness for those who work remotely.
And judging by the pivots made in the last two years by large companies, it would appear that remote work is anything but a temporary response to the pandemic. Rather than implement aggressive return-to-work strategies, many are doing the opposite and doubling down on remote work.
For example, In June, Yelp announced that their 4,400-person company would scrap hybrid options and go fully remote. Lyft, Airbnb, 3M and Spotify have all moved toward permanent work-from-home setups (and have seen huge reductions in turnover since). TaskRabbit completely closed its offices in May and PayPal did the same with its San Francisco offices in April.
In this brave new world, we’re lucky to have many new technologies and tools that make communication and productivity easier. For example, we’re proud that ShareVision allows real-time collaboration from anywhere. And the fact that today’s technology (from project management tools to video conferencing and more) is keeping the water cooler alive in virtual form may just change everything.
As for the future? There are many unanswered questions about what happens next for remote work. Whatever happens, it’s undeniable that the culture of work is going through a major transformation. With the development of more creative mobile work tools, and even the burgeoning interest in virtual reality conferencing, who knows what the future will bring—but we’ll be here for it.