Is remote work bringing us closer to a "no borders" future?
We're now in the middle of what seems to be the second wave of the pandemic. Remote work's become the norm regardless of how well you're coping with it, and 9 months of working from home are having an effect. Facebook is allowing employees to work from home permanently and projecting that "50% of its workforce could be remote in the next 5-10 years". We still don't know when we'll be able to travel peacefully and not have to rush home when we forget our masks on the way to the supermarket, but one thing is certain - changes are happening in the world which won't dissipate with the pandemic.
Employers have come face to face with the benefits (and downsides) of remote work. They can save money on office rent, utilities, and equipment. Even if they provide a stipend to employees to set up their work stations, it will be minuscule in comparison. So, how soon will they start thinking about salary savings associated with hiring someone with the same set of expertise but on the other side of the world at a fraction of the cost? Of course, not everything comes down to numbers, and there's a lot to say about corporate culture, but I suspect there are many leaders out there who are always looking for ways to save some cash. In fact, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford university already suspects companies will use outsourcing as a mix of strategies to cushion themselves against volatility.
You may ask - but what about the benefits you gain from physically being in a metropolitan city and working there? Networking, exciting entertainment, endless dining options, and so many other opportunities you get solely based on where you live. Surely remote work won't be able to cater to them? Probably not, and I agree that these matters are significant, and people won't be willing to give them up. Or at least not everyone will. But everything is a process, and what if once companies "have a taste" of having no borders with employment and hiring people from across the world based solely on their skills, they will begin to question why they can't do it in the "normal" world and bring people over? What if enough companies start to question why they have to struggle so much with choosing employees based on their skills, experiences, what they can contribute, PLUS what passport they hold? Perhaps if employers start to question these things, that's when the ball will get rolling even more, and we'll be advancing towards a no borders world. What do you think?