- Before the pandemic, most workers had to commute into an office in a central business district.
- Now, workers have realized that the location in which they live and work doesn’t matter anymore.
- Caroline Wong, Chief Strategy Officer at Cobalt, explained that work can take place from anywhere now, and that this trend will continue into the future.
Location, location, location… Historically, central business districts have been a city’s leading center of economic power.
Before the pandemic, most workers had to commute into an office in one of these districts. Big cities were seen as “the place to be” due to their hub of available jobs and corporations based in them.
But the pandemic showed that working in person just isn’t necessary for a huge portion of professions.
So, will this bring about the death of central business districts or offices?
No, it won’t. But workers have realized that the location in which they live and work doesn’t matter as much anymore.
This is largely thanks to the availability of remote jobs. Instead of choosing to work for a company that’s based in a specific city, people can choose to work for a company that operates online – and if they want to work in an office environment, they can choose to rent out a coworking space (in whichever city they like).
Patrick Collison, the CEO of US tech giant Stripe, shared an interesting workforce tidbit on Twitter: In Q1 2019, 39% of the company’s hiring was outside of the Bay Area and Seattle. Last quarter it was 74%.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky chimed in, “Yup, the place to be was Silicon Valley. It feels like now the place to be is the internet (which is everywhere).”
Caroline Wong, Chief Strategy Officer at Cobalt, explained that work can take place from anywhere now, and this trend will continue into the future.
Allwork.Space: Some people say that now, ‘the place to be’ is the internet. Does location matter anymore for work?
Caroline Wong: Location does not matter anymore for work. Just a few years ago, many employers held the old-school mentality that being in the office was vital for trust and productivity.
However, the world of work has changed – and an Owl Labs report that surveyed remote workers found 81% of people working from home believe their employer will continue to support remote work after COVID-19.
In the last two years, I’ve seen a shift: The focus is more aligned on the employee output – no matter what time zone they’re in.
Take my journey for example: I picked up my stuff and made the move to Silicon Forest from Silicon Valley. It was time to prioritize my family’s needs first. As a working mother, being able to have that flexibility is key and thankfully, I got the support I needed at Cobalt, and we are now proudly an award-winning remote-first cybersecurity company.
Cobalt has always seen remote work as the new way forward. From an employer perspective, remote work gives companies access to the best talent globally. At Cobalt, our talent has fueled our company’s growth (we saw 53% growth in headcount in 2021 alone).
Remote work is great for our organization internally – as industry pioneers in pentesting as a service, we leverage highly skilled talent across the globe to deliver manual security testing to digitally transforming organizations at a pace that scales with modern software development practices.
Allwork.Space: Can workers just work from anywhere? Will the trend of remote work continue?
Our organization has been very thoughtful and purposeful about how we expand our workforce globally.
For several years we were based primarily in the United States and Germany. Last year, we added the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. This year we are exploring Spain and Canada as potential expansion locations.
We do not hire folks for anywhere and everywhere – it’s important to us to consider operationally how folks work together most effectively across time zones, and we also recognize the value of building community in local regions.
Simply put, yes – most work can be done from anywhere. There are exceptions, of course, but in the tech industry it makes sense this trend of remote work will continue.
Employees benefit because they are empowered to be productive on their own time. A survey conducted by Upwork of 1,500 hiring managers found that due to COVID-19, 61.9% of the companies were planning more remote work now and in the following years to come.
Employers see the benefit in reducing their real estate footprint and investing in their talent instead.
As part of the leadership team, I can vouch for how productive it is to work remotely.
And during the initial days of the pandemic, we huddled together to figure out how best we can support our distributed teams during a difficult time and how to build a community.
Working from anywhere isn’t a trend, it’s a paradigm shift in how we view work.
In fact, Global Workplace Analytics estimates that employers can save over 11,000 dollars per year per employee. The savings are from the lower cost of office space, increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and less turnover.
The truth is, we live in a very different world than we did two years ago and the old rules don’t apply anymore.