Prediction: If you insist on only working remotely, you may soon be obsolete.
I predict that over the next five years, the most valuable employees will be the ones who show up work personally. Remote work has been fun, but there are clear warning signs about its continuation. Those warning signs offer a chance to rise above the crowd.
Remote work increased during the pandemic and much good has come out of it. Many meetings that required travel have been replaced by Zoom or the like. Efficiency is demonstrably better than ever, a direct benefit of the forced pivot we made in 2020 to remote work. And let’s face it, who didn’t enjoy working out in sweatpants or athleisure everyday?
But if you look a little further, you will see that it is time to turn again.
Remote working will be with us from now on, but it shrinks quickly. The value of being together is increasing now. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, employees and job seekers to focus on office based jobs.
This is why:
1. Since hybrid work can happen anywhere, remote workers can become an outrageous expense.
Study after study shows that the number of remote work vacancies is dwindling. Yes, employers want their teams to get back together. But I would encourage you to think a little further.
Imagine remote working becoming the norm for most industries. If an employer finds out that good, solid jobs that were formerly located in the United States can be moved to remote locations where labor costs are much cheaper, it will happen. Look no further than the road manufacturing jobs have left the United States for places that cost less to produce.
Think a few steps ahead with me. If many great jobs remain remote, many great jobs will leave the United States. That means smart people have to lobby for work on the shop floor. If I’m looking for a job now, I’m going to look for a job that wants me in the office. And once I get there, I’m going to prove that I can do my job and add value on the spot in a way that a remote worker never could. I predict this will happen in the workplace and those pushing for remote work will eventually become an excessive expense.
2. The rise of machines
If you see the rise of artificial intelligence and chat GPTthen you know that some of our jobs will change and perhaps be replaced in the coming years.
Last month, the second most popular article on LinkedIn was about how chat GPT correctly predicted the end sign for the stock market for the day. Artificial intelligence can now score perfectly on the law school entrance exam, the SAT, and it won’t be long before many jobs are similarly replaced.
Prediction after prediction shows that many current human jobs will be replaced by machines, and at a faster rate than we imagined. In my mind, this means employees need to figure out how to do what computers can’t. That is, being human.
- The chance to shine
What can’t a computer do that we can? What can an employee in the office do that a remote employee cannot? There are many answers, but one that immediately comes to mind is om being present and being human in an office. After three years of isolation, I think people are more hungry than ever for community. We are simply not made to be alone. And virtual communication, while vastly improved over what it used to be, and much more normalized than ever, is simply no substitute for being close together in an office. I advise my young adult children to look for jobs that require on-site presence and to get good at human soft skills. This way they can avoid being replaced by artificial intelligence.
Think with me about a few human soft skills you could improve and bring to your workplace. I’m all for the rise of artificial intelligence, I think it will improve our workplace, but it will certainly change it as well. And the people who will rise above the crowd in the future are the people who will master human soft skills, human communication and humanity.
The advancing technology can be frightening, and it can make you want to run and hide under a rock. But our staff’s best days are ahead of us, not behind us. I truly believe that the best employees, and the ones who will enjoy the best days of the future, are the ones who show up in the office now. The ones that are a bit ahead of the trend line and are starting to hire people in the office or looking for work in the office. I think these people will be the trendsetters. And I believe that history will smile upon them, reward them, and remind them that they are separate from the rest.