Will the post-pandemic world see a return to “normalcy”? That’s the question on many people’s minds, especially as vaccination efforts ramp up. While no one can answer this question with certainty, some experts have weighed in on the future of working from home.
Prior to Covid, working from home was a luxury available to only a select few. Not anymore. According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, 25-30 percent of the workforce will be permanently working from home by the end of 2021.
A recent Enterprise Technology Research survey of 1,200 chief information officers concluded that 34.4 percent of people will be working from home after the pandemic. That’s double pre-pandemic levels. In addition, 48.6 percent of those interviewed for the survey reported that productivity improved after their employees started working from home!
And LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Confidence Index found that many of the perceived challenges and concerns typically associated with working – such as the lack of productivity and the absence of a private, distraction-free workspace – are actually non-issues.
Some companies, like Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter, have announced that many of their employees will continue working from home after the pandemic ends. And a number of European countries, including Spain, Greece, and Ireland, have begun drafting “remote work legislation.” In other words, the pandemic has accelerated the “work from home” trend, and many believe it’s here to stay.
One of the biggest consequences of this trend is the freedom it provides employees – and companies – to move to different locations. And both employees and companies have taken advantage of it. According to a Marketplace Edison Research poll conducted in the fall, 11 percent of Americans have permanently relocated in the last six months and 16 percent say they’re considering moving within the next six months. Of those moving, 47 percent reported they were doing so because they now have the flexibility to work from anywhere.
New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are among the cities with the highest level of outward migration. According to the Apartment List National Rent Report, rent prices have fallen in 41 of the country’s largest cities – 17 percent from the last year in New York City and 23 percent in San Francisco.
Not everyone is moving across state lines. Many are simply leaving urban cities and moving to the suburbs or more rural areas close by. For example, of those leaving New York City, the Hamptons are a common destination, and of those leaving Houston, Katy and Cypress are attractive suburban alternatives.
Interestingly, Idaho, New Mexico, Delaware, South Carolina, and Maine have the highest net gain of newcomers, with Idaho reporting a whopping 194 percent more people moving in than out, according to data from HireAHelper!
And it’s not only employees who are moving. So are tech companies thanks in part to states with low tax rates and living costs courting them. For example, HPE, a spin-off of Hewlett-Packard, is moving to Houston. Oracle is also moving to Texas, although Oracle co-founder and chief technology officer Larry Ellison told employees he will be residing in the Hawaiian Island of Lanai and will telecommute.
Elon Musk’s Tesla found Texas attractive too. Musk said he needed to be closer to two of his big projects – namely, the development of rockets by SpaceX and the construction of a Tesla automobile plant, both of which are located in the Lone Star state.
Palantir, another Silicon Valley company, moved to Denver this year and its co-founder, Joe Lonsdale, moved his venture capital firm from San Francisco to Austin.
It remains to be seen what the long-term effects of working from home will do to metropolitan cities. But one thing experts seem to agree on: Working from home is the future.