The question(s) of permanent remote work

Even companies one would expect to be naturally anyway very nimble in all aspects of their business, especially in terms of collaboration, shift up a gear towards permanent remote working - simply by indicating that "within a decade as many as half of the company’s employees would work from home", as Facebook did as we could read lately. Twitter even says employees would be allowed to work from home indefinitely, Google for now until the end of the Year.
For sure this is as of today driven by the crisis of a global pandemic - but for sure in the mid- and long-term it will become also another approach in the war for talents. Additionally permanent remote work can clearly be also seen as a steps towards "always ensured business continuity" in case of a second wave of the pandemic or a next pandemic, which seems to be not very unlikely remembering EHEC, MERS, SARS etc. and looking at the last time spans between them.
Obviously this can even lead to a change of the business and collaboration model as another consequence. The cost savings of office spaces might be re-invested in VR / AR / MR!? Even this will never be able to fully replace physical meetings but could decrease the need for them even further. For sure it will require even more change in the leadership teams out there.
So, the pressure might increase on companies to work on their collaboration models, due to the external risks and internal employee pressure.
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I see already today many questions on the horizon: What about companies who cannot "open up"? If it's due to their type of work, as in production, labs, where shared physical documents are needed in the daily operations or simply because a company serves clients directly. What will be the long-term impact on those companies or even only departments within a company? Especially in the case where really a majority of the other companies allows their staff to stay at home? How will it influence job attractiveness? Will even more kids (or parents for their kids) as already today want to study to not get an "office job" anymore? And therefore increase the problems we already face today, where it seems to be almost a catastrophe to be become a craftsmen (definitely not my view). Even though it creates today a hard time for many parents, will in a better organized scenario home child care and home schooling increase? Even this thought alone leads to endless further sociological questions...
At the end, will we move towards a two-tier society where all the "high paid tech workers" can stay at home while the rest of the population still needs to d̵r̵i̵v̵e̵ fly to the office? Highly probably not a 100% realistic black and white scenario and clearly many people nowadays are desperately looking forward to come back into the office but anyway something to have in mind, reading the latest developments and having a sense for change in the air.
In my view as for any other aspects of leadership, politics, collaboration, business model changes: there will be no golden way and any leader, politician, any company will have to find his way. But it could be good to start thinking & discussing about all the implications already today. At least I do not have answered all questions for myself today.
Therefore: What are your thoughts? Is your company already taking long-term learnings and actions to turn "forced" developments into a differentiating factor? Or is your company even forced from outside but not really in the position to change anything due to your business model? What are your thoughts on the further implications?
If so, I would be keen to read even about small steps or opinions.
#Covid #RemoteWork #BusinessContinuity #CrisisManagement #WarForTalents #Leadership

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