But nothing is certain. While many companies are embracing remote work, some big tech giants are already bringing their people back to the office.
🛍 Amazon: “Our plan is to return to an office-centric culture as our baseline.”
🚗 Uber: "Our business also exists in the real world, on the streets of thousands of cities, and it's important we stay connected to the places we serve."
📺 Netflix: "Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative."
🔍 Google: You'll have to formally apply for up to 12 months of remote work in “the most exceptional circumstances."
From niche to mainstream
Mainstream movements don't start out as mainstream movements. They begin as a small niche.
And while thousands of companies have been working with a distributed team for many years, remote work has still been a small movement.
Like Hip-hop. A niche movement that became mainstream. While doing so, it has shaped not only the music people listened to but also how they listened to it. The way they dressed, talked, and danced.
Similarly, remote work not only shapes where we work, but also how we work.
It's not about the location, really. It's rather about the way people live. It's about merging work with the rest of life. For me, it's about freedom.
But why do some niche movements become mainstream? At least for some cases, there seems to be a catalyst.
For food trucks, it may have been the Great Recession. "Necessity is the mother of invention."
It's like a niche is spending some time preparing to go mainstream. Gathering experience. Inviting like-minded people around it. Building the processes and tools.
Then with a catalyst, a possibility opens up for a niche movement to become mainstream.
And this is what's happening with remote work right now. The catalyst was a COVID outbreak. Companies are forced to work remotely. Mainstream press is writing about it every day–both the positive and negative sides of it.
But at least now, it's a topic that is widely discussed around the globe.
Nothing is certain
Remote work can still stay in the niche. There are more niche movements that didn't go mainstream.
And while a lot of companies have been embracing remote work, there are also companies who don't like the idea of a distributed team.
Maybe managers want to micromanage and watch over the shoulders. Or maybe they just don't know how to run a remote team. Maybe it's just new to them.
Eventually what can happen, when people have the courage, is that these people will switch jobs if their company doesn't let them work remotely.
Give people the freedom
I'm a dad to two adorable daughters. And while I'm very grateful that working remotely lets me be a much bigger part of their life, I also see how it's often impossible to focus on work while being at home with them.
So it's fine to build nice offices and let your employees work from there. But give people the freedom. It's their own choice.
Don't say that you have to work from the office. Even for a few days a week. This still puts a limit on a location.
People are much happier when they can come into the office when they want to by their own free choice, not because you force them.