Do you remember when was the last time, since the whole pandemic started, that you said to someone „I am off to work“? OR, do you remember when was the last time someone said that to you? If and when that actually happened, you were probably shocked and reacted somewhere along the lines of: „Is it possible that you are still working from the office? How come you guys haven’t moved to ’work-from-home’, like everyone else?“
Prior to pandemic, “work from home” was mostly a marginalized trend akin to freelancers that were often bragging about their freedom to choose whether or not they will go to the office every day to work. Thanks to pandemic, WFH has become a new standard, with an increasing number of tech companies that have adopted it claiming that it will become the new mode of work even after the pandemic is over. To prove the point, some of the employees of those companies were even offered financial stimulus to accept this way of work.
All of this sounds very appealing at first. No more time wasting on commuting to and from work. No more set working hours. No more living in overcrowded, noisy cities with heavy air pollution. No more boring meetings and forced team buildings. You choose where you want to live, find your peace and create your schedule. Seems like paradise…
However, not everything is as it seems. This grand tale has a dark side to it, because while you work, the kids are playing, cats and dogs are jumping around the house, and lunch is simmering at the stove. Not to mention that kitchen countertops and sofas in the living room are not the most optimal working environments and finding focus while someone is watching a sitcom on TV or casually chatting with other family members is not the easiest thing to do. Realistically speaking, these problems are your own now – so you need to figure out how to deal with them. The mode, the place you work from and working conditions in general are no longer a responsibility of the employer but of the employee.
This has also brought about an increased interest in co-working spaces, especially in the big cities. The changes in the way we work has also influenced a rise in digital nomad movement – individuals who decided to blend travel with work and create a new singular experience of working-while-travelling. The side effect of this shift – notwithstanding the corona – is to re-title “work from home” as “WFA- work from anywhere”.
On the flipside, thanks to the same technology that allowed WFH, employers have radically expanded the labor markets to global scale. This globalization trend is directly impacting the competitiveness of the employees, which lowers the prices and positively affects the profitability of companies – their key inherent driver. At the same time, employees become more invisible for their employers, and effectively become dehumanized in the process. It may not seem like it at first, because the liberty to choose where you work from is presented as a new frontier of freedom, a path forward. This is also why with new tech developments, most complex jobs will be handled and operated by machines, while a human being becomes an accessory to the process, less significant, just an afterthought.
We are already seeing the technological standardization of a number of jobs globally, while more and more work is moved to an unidentified space popularly known as the Cloud. The man has thus joined the technology and moved to “skies”. And with this in mind, shouldn’t we re-title again and continue the chain WFH to WFA and then to simply call it WFC – work-from-cloud?
Is there anyone who can challenge the “the sky’s the limit” notion now?