On the surface, the work-from-home (WFH) movement feels like a sudden revolution that was thrust upon us by a worldwide health crisis. In fact the steady progression of economies, culture, and technology have been guiding us in this direction for decades. The global pandemic of 2020 was merely the impetus we needed to make the leap.
The first true hybrids.
As far back as the 1960’s and 70’s, rapidly changing industries and more prosperous jobs led to a shift towards people living further away from the cities and work centers. Commuting greater distances and paying for higher transportation costs, as well as spending fewer hours with family became the norm.
Large corporate sales forces may have been on the leading edge of change, although not so much in a work-from-home capacity, as just working from somewhere other than an office. The work of salespeople shifted from being inside stores and offices to traveling and making personal sales calls to be more competitive. They came into the office only occasionally to file reports and meet with management. Their performance was evaluated by the end results, not daily personal interactions. They were the first true hybrid employees.
As technology improved over the following decades in the arenas of communications, personal computing devices, internet and email, people and companies alike began to question whether keeping a large staff contained in an office was really necessary. The office lockdowns during the recent pandemic provided the answer to that burning question. Groups, individuals, and entire organizations are able to perform as well or better without constantly sharing a workspace.
Innovation has driven the need for knowledge-work professionals.
The manner of work was often thought to be the defining factor in trading the office for a more flexible location, with work that was more solo-operator and computer science-related fitting the description.
While some might argue that industrial innovations in automated technology have reduced the availability of physical labor jobs, it has also driven a corresponding surge in the need for knowledge-work professionals. Knowledge-work is a far more expansive realm that takes many forms beyond the highly technical, it doesn’t just apply to programmers and code writers anymore. Personal assistants, secretaries, business managers, accountants, even highly skilled professions previously thought of as hands-on only, like plumbers, electricians, and construction managers are now finding ways to offer services remotely. The result of which means they can work from a home office, or from anywhere they please.
The Millennial generation may have been the first to fully realize the potential of creative knowledge-work and being able to earn a living while traveling abroad, but the rest of the world is beginning to shift their mindset. Much of that shift is also coming from organizations that were forced to change to a new work model during the pandemic, and have since realised the cost-value and productivity proposition of converting their workforce to fully-remote or hybrid models.
Reduced real estate costs, utilities, maintenance expenses, and having access to top talent from anywhere in the world are significant benefits. It’s a more profitable way to run a business. Obstacles that were once feared too great to conquer in a remote workforce, like communication, management oversight, and employee collaboration, have all proved easily handled with current technology. Tools like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime are viable options for keeping people connected and sharing knowledge online.
There were genuine opportunities for innovative, functional workspaces
With companies and employees all onboard to work-from-home, and the technology to make it possible, the biggest obstacle lack of practical home office equipment. There were genuine opportunities for innovative, functional workspaces in the home that fostered productivity without eliminating the “home.” Pith & Stem’s DropTop.™ was the first creative solution to provide a professional workspace that is fully integrated with monitors to plug-and-play with any laptop, and then easily converts into an element of modern decor. It has made having a home office possible for almost everyone regardless of how compact their home might be.
Folding desks are nothing new, but until now were cheap and flimsy writing desks, designed for occasional use. With new products coming to the market like the DropTop.™ Pro -M there’s no longer anything holding you back from being as equally productive working from home.
You can now have a full multiscreen set up perfectly designed for video conferencing, gaming or Vlogging; all in a compact and stylish setup without compromising either your living space or home décor.
Creating an inclusive economy that allows people to work in an environment that suits their lifestyle and provides higher rewards for employers is the way forward. The future of work has been revealed. Whether an organisation chooses to transition to a hybrid or fully-remote model, the benefits for companies and employees alike are certain. Work-From-Home is here to stay.