Major news organizations reported today that Google employees will be able to continue to work remotely, from now until the middle of 2021, and possibly beyond. This is big news indeed and it seemed like a lot of people knew this was going to happen.
The novel coronavirus is causing big changes to society and some of these changes are not obvious. It is one thing for people to be able to work remotely for a few weeks or months, but it’s another thing altogether when this expands to many months or years at a time.
There are many different types of ramifications when we see very large companies allowing their employees to work remotely or work from home.
- Once people get used to working from home, and they are productive, it seems likely that they will be allowed to continue working remotely.
- More and more companies will start to let their employees work from home.
- There will be less demand for public transit as fewer people ride buses and trains.
- Families will migrate out of cities and into the suburbs or even into rural communities, as they will no longer have a need to live in expensive zip codes that are close to their workplaces.
Society is changing in a hurry due to the effects of the coronavirus and it is not going to be easy to prepare for everything that is going to happen. A lot will happen slowly and then suddenly, as the saying goes.
Here are some ways that our world may change:
- Real estate prices could fall suddenly. Imagine if millions of employees could work remotely permanently any where they choose. It is possible that legions if people will start listing their homes for sale so they can move to a more affordable place with lower property taxes.
- What about the millions of people who do not have occupations where they can work remotely? These are real people with hopes and dreams and they may not be able to find alternate careers.
- And then there are the corporate offices where people used to work. It is likely you are going to see a lot of space available and half-empty buildings that are no longer needed as worksites.
The world and society is at a crossroads. Due to the changes unfolding in front of us, the future looks great for some segments of society but looks bleak for many others.
All of us will need to adapt in a hurry and double our efforts to improve what we can offer employers, and we will need to help those around us. We cannot let society succumb to being islands of prosperity surrounded by oceans of despair.