The Coming Evolution of Remote Work
Changes on the demographics of the US workforce will have a dramatic, perhaps painful, effect on “Remote First” companies. COVID and economic circumstances forced a lot of firms to allow people to work from home. Some decided it was a differentiator to be “Remote First” and prioritize this cost-saving methodology. But an aging workforce will cause a shift that many are not aware of.
A large percentage of the current workforce has experienced working from an office. They understand certain etiquette items, as well as details on office politics that have to be experienced in person. As those older workers retire and age out, there will be a drain on leadership. Many of the younger workers will lacking in certain skills and types of awareness that is quicker to gain in an office.
Now it is conceivable that people that got started “remote only” will better understand certain nuances of how to communicate, lead and follow. But there is no certainty that this will be the case. The end result is that Leadership will be even more critical. It takes a much more aware person to understand the emotions of a staff when that staff is largely remote. The “water cooler” gossip will follow a different path at a different rate. It will be harder to pick up on signals that an employee is checking out or struggling.