It amazes me that we still need to make a case for remote work in Corporate America. Yet we do, even today.
Which is why I always like seeing good strong articles on it. Case in point: this excellent overview of the ‘state of telework’ at Ars Technica.
The future of work looks like staying out of the office (February 18, 2020)
The article calls up the major arguments for telecommuting – time recaptured, traffic reduced, flexibility leading to more productivity. It debunks a few common objections. Then it concludes with a discussion on telework among federal employees. (Which has gone down in the past few years…a little surprising, honestly.)
One point I did like seeing was the fact that telecommuting helps with a tight labor market. Right now we have less than 4% unemployment – which is extremely tight! Here in Silicon Valley, positions can stand empty for months. Not due to lack of demand, but due to lack of skilled people. Even if you find someone, another company will happily poach them from you in an instant.
This not only means companies must scramble to find people, but they have to keep them once hired. Telecommuting opens up more options in the talent pool, and provides a valuable benefit to staying on.
For example, a friend of a friend is a programmer in the Midwest. He is disabled due to a severe car accident in his teens. He must use a wheelchair. As such, he cannot drive. Even if he moved into a city where he could find work, how would he get there & back every day? Uber would add up fast.
Instead, he telecommutes. He works for a Silicon Valley company as one of their programmers. Does a great job, as I hear…with zero commute and no worries about getting around.
Remote Work advocates like me will read this article and simply nod along with it. If you’re curious, or want to understand why remote-friendly workers believe in it, this article is well worth the read.