A new playing field.

What remote work will mean for you as an individual.

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Happy Friday 👋, 

If you’ve had the dubious pleasure of hearing me talk in the past, you’ve listened to me say this a couple of times. 

We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. - Roy Amara

It captures perfectly every trend and every movement that we see, not only in technology but also within people’s space. 

And today, I’m talking about what effect remote work will have on the individual.

Individuals work remotely

Many of us struggled when COVID-19 forced us to leave the office and had us all working from home. But after the initial panic, we settled in. All of this is old news by now. We’ve read the reports, seen the graphs, and got the t-shirt.

But have we understood what that means for us? Not us as an organization. Us as individuals. You and me. I’m not sure about that. Our focus has been on the companies - what will companies allow? How will companies remake a hybrid workforce or whatever it is they shift to? Sure, some articles have covered people like me, who left the city for an idyllic (on paper) countryside life. The over-arching discussion around what this really means for us hasn’t happened.

Some time ago I was talking to an HR student. She’s just on her way to graduate, and as with many graduates, she was looking for a job. 

She points out that there are just a handful of jobs available in the city where she lives. Wait a minute here. In the city where she lives? 

That’s not relevant anymore. 

Seriously. It’s not relevant anymore. You can work from anywhere at almost anything.

As I write this, LinkedIn lists over 60 000 jobs as available to work from anywhere. And that’s just within the European Economic Area.

If you are like me and happen to be in HR, there are over 8 000 remote eligible jobs in EEA.

Hello, new game field.

Not Boring is a great inspiration for me, that’s no secret, and in the article The Great Online Game it is highlighted that we are all part of a big game, the game of the internet.

“The Oxford English Dictionary defines a video game as, “A game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a television screen or other display screen.”

If you’re working remotely from a computer, what you’re doing perfectly fits the definition of a video game. “

Before the pandemic, this was the reality for only a few, but the last year has expanded the playing field to include anyone who can work from home. I would even argue that in the past if you really wanted to play in the game, you had to move to a major city at some point. That’s no longer the case.

Our playing field has gotten wider. And when we all start to realize that we can live wherever we want and have enjoyable, challenging, and fun careers, the game will change. 

Think about it - you can work at a better workplace with better benefits without moving.

Will this be for everyone? No. But I’m confident that it will be a reality for most if we take a long-term view.

“But that’s not for me; I miss having people around.”

That’s easily solved. I think we will see people and companies coming together, sharing spaces in the town where people happen to live. We see initiatives like this popping up already. Flowpass is a Swedish start-up aiming to solve part of this puzzle. They call it “Node-working,” and it’s simply a service where companies and people can rent a place short-term or long-term based on their needs. 

The people surrounding you won’t be working at the same company as you, but perhaps with similar roles. Or maybe completely different roles that will inspire you in new ways. The point is, working remotely does not equal working from home. It means working from your location. 

And that’s pretty sweet.