In order to appeal to a wider range of the workforce and address a broad societal issue, companies should offer and encourage remote working.
At the Fortune Global Forum in Paris, Kevin Sneader, managing partner at McKinsey, said that job growth is driven by a small number of cities who create big incentives for workers to move there. This causes the cost of living to rise and creates inequality in these areas.
“If you let just 10 or 20% of people who currently live in Paris move to [the provinces], that will have a nonlinear impact on congestion, on pollution, on the cost of living, and will open up a lot of space to allow people that are currently very far away from Paris to be able to come back inside of the city,” said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of staffing company Upwork.
Remote working is typically reserved for “knowledge workers” who tend to face less economic pressure than service and retail workers. Moving knowledge jobs out of major cities would in turn benefit workers who have no choice but to be local as it reduces the pressure of living costs.
Despite its numerous benefits, Kasriel said that resistance to remote working is still a huge issue and out of touch.“If your office has more than two floors, people aren’t working across floors,” said Kasriel. “They Slack each other, they Zoom each other, they Skype each other. So fundamentally, whether you have two floors in the same building, or two floors in two different cities, it makes no difference.”