Remote work, mobility and post-crisis world: where to live and how to work?

Published on 20 January 2021

Reading time 7 minutes

Whether in social, environmental or economic areas, many changes occurred during the year 2020. As a consequence, the closure of companies’ premises arising from the new standards introduced by the Covid-19 health crisis has led them to reinvent themselves in order to maintain their activity. Remote work, coworking and reduced mobility: discover the 2020 major changes and their implications for 2021.

What is the right place to live in 2021?

The world is constantly evolving, and this progression has been even deeper since the Covid-19 health crisis. Remote work and mobility are two of the major employment market impacts, and they are regarded as a turning point in our current society: reduced physical presence in the workplace, rise of videoconferencing, migration of the population to the suburbs...

The Covid-19 health crisis has not only called into question the modern way of working, it also led most workers to think about our current place of living and ask ourselves what would be the most suitable one.

This issue has been solved by #teamSuzanne, winning team of the last November Datathon, with their creation of an interface that allows us to find the best place to remote work according to 7 criteria: population, connectivity, health, land value, transportation, services and leisure.

Christophe, member of #teamSuzanne: “We asked ourselves where the best city to settle is when you work remotely. We thought it is up to everyone to see what’s important for them and their family. So we are allowing everyone to find THEIR city according to THEIR OWN criteria.

How to work in this new ecosystem?

The rise of remote work and new forms of communication

We are currently going through a fast and gradual changeover, which leads us to think about new ways of working, communicating, thinking and acting. If we go back to a few months ago, modern work was the standard: we went to our workplaces, had direct contact with our colleagues and clients, shared coffee and meals together... However, the security measures implemented in March 2020 have made modern work disappear for the benefit of a new standard: remote working and telecommuting.

What are the differences between remote working and telecommuting?

Even if these two terms are often used as synonyms, remote working and telecommuting are slightly different on some points.

On the one hand, a remote worker is someone who is remotely located. This means that they live far from their company’s offices. They can work remotely on a temporary basis, on a long-term basis or on a permanent one.

On the other hand, a telecommuter is a worker who is working sometimes on-site, sometimes remotely. They are indeed closer to their company’s offices than the remote workers.

During the first containment due to Covid-19 quarantine precautions, 40% of the hours worked in Europe were made in telecommuting, according to the press agency ETX Studio.

Working remotely: pros and cons

If working remotely has spread since the first containment, it is because it allows us to:

  • Respect social distancing
  • Save time, as work is done from home or in places close to home
  • Reduce transportation costs
  • Consume more locally and reduce pollution thanks to movement restrictions
  • Allow freedom regarding the schedule organization and the work location choices


However, working remotely can also show some drawbacks. Particular attention must be paid to:

  • Isolated people
  • Work-life balance
  • Proper workspace
  • Concentration and productivity


Wondering how to efficiently work remotely? A good thing that Wild Code School has a dedicated handy guide for mastering your virtual autonomy and nailing remote working!

The advent of new forms of communication following the pandemic

Last July, the American company Twilio unveiled the figures from its worldwide survey measuring the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis on companies’ digital transformation. Globally, 97% of business leaders claimed that the health crisis had accelerated their companies’ digital transformation, and 92% say that the progress of digital communication is becoming increasingly important.

As a result, the popularity of many communication platforms has risen. They have become the new place for virtual encounters. Meetings, workshops, conferences… From now on, everything is done online! Then, social distancing and containment would have acculturated us to these digital platforms: Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Slack...

What are the new ways of working?

The Covid-19 health crisis has surely taught us one thing: the very essence of work is no longer tied to a particular place. From now on, its definition mainly lies on the missions to be carried out, and whether or not they can be achieved remotely. In addition to telecommuting and remote working, there are several other ways of doing one's work:

Nomadic working

This way of life is allowing working nomads to travel while practicing their profession. It leads to a freer way of working from a geographical point of view. Whenever nomadism is linked to the digital area, we talk about digital nomads.

Therefore, nomadic work shows us advantages such as working-hour flexibility, freedom in the working place among the infinite choices of the place we want to work in, improved quality of life, efficiency and concentration that can be optimized, and a constant feeling of novelty as well.

However, this lifestyle can also have drawbacks such as a need for rigor, motivation and self-discipline, dependence on work equipment and wifi, personal and professional life balance, exhaustion linked to perpetual movement, but also the lack of regular human contact and bearings.

Coworking

© Source: Impact Hub - Coworking in Vienna

A coworking  space is a place made for the gathering of professionals, coming from sectors that are similar or totally different.

Coworking is based on three values: cooperation, openness and creativity. It allows professionals to work in joint and varying-size offices that are open and more easily accessible, as they are close to their living accommodations. Sharing and communication are encouraged in this motivating and enjoyable environment, which promotes well-being at work.

The popularity of these spaces is increasing with the younger generations (Millennials), and the people who are in personal or professional transition. Then, coworking spaces allow a working flexibility (regarding working hours and office locations), lower office rental costs than traditional ones, a motivating and friendly working atmosphere, and quality in work equipment. However, there are some prerequisites such as a dematerialized activity, which is essential in this kind of working space. Moreover, this way of working is not optimal in the long term if the company’s size is facing a significant increase. In addition, noise nuisances may vary depending on the companies where the employee chooses to work next to. And finally, a lack of confidentiality may be felt, since the premises are shared.

Coworking Insights -- a source for data, advice and trends in the flexible office industry -- has conducted a study on the future of coworking and telecommuting. According to respondents, 31% were working from coworking spaces before the pandemic, and 71% plan to return to these spaces after the Covid-19 health crisis. In addition, 55% of future remote workers said they were tempted by coworking.

According to another study conducted by Editor’s Choice, 92% of coworkers are satisfied, and 50% are individual employees. These spaces will tend to grow by 22% by 2022.

Coliving: Living and working in a motivating space is possible!

© Source: Coliving.com - Coliving in Berlin

Coliving can be regarded as the merge of coworking and apartment-sharing, since the coworking space is located within the living accommodation.
Then, its inhabitants have a furnished living space, with private spaces (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom) and shared ones (living room, gym, library, coworking space...). It also includes in its price shared services (wifi, cleaning, supervised parking, subscription to VOD services, sports classes, concierge service, etc.).

What to conclude for the quality of life at work in 2021?

The year 2021 will face a lot of new challenges. Companies will be handling recent issues that have been intensified by the Covid-19 health crisis: remote management and recruitment of new employees, increase of digital communication, growing use of virtual interfaces... In overall, the main matters to focus on may be knowing how to respond to each issue and adapt to different situations by using new technologies.