Remote work closes geographical gaps but there is a downside, too

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Software engineers are still in very high demand in California. But talents that are on-boarded are increasingly coming from locations outside the state or even overseas. 

The pandemic normalized remote work and now it is creating a new wave of globalization. It’s allowing equal access to high-paid opportunities across the globe. One can work from anywhere and still have access to a high-paying job in an intellectually stimulating work environment. 

Maxime Cohen, a professor at McGill University, says that the upward trend of the adoption of remote work poses both positive and negative effects to economies. 

No more commute

One good thing about this emerging work model is it gives local economies an opportunity to grow. It also eliminates the daily commute which takes up 89 million hours from the US workforce weekly.  

Physical and mental well-being

Working remotely gives employees the benefit of managing and balancing work and their personal lives. This allows them to focus on important relationships with friends and family. It has been shown that this improves overall wellbeing. 

Cultural diversity

With access to talent pools all over the world, companies are given an easier option to apply inclusivity and diversity when hiring. Hiring people from a diversity of geographies certainly increases a company’s diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and thinking.

Closing wage gap

Another big benefit is rising wages for skilled workers in certain parts of the world, reducing the wage gap across geographical regions. Higher salaries benefit the local economy since remote workers pay local taxes and have purchasing power. More demand for talent in a given region could also lead to greater urban development, like the creation of more schools and local businesses.

Virtual brain drain 

However, like any good thing, remote work and global employment may come with certain risks. One of them is virtual brain drain. Over time, a more global talent pool could discourage companies from building a regional presence because they could hire remote workers instead.

Wealth gap

A rise in wages might further widen the wealth gap between skilled and service workers.

Another potential downside stems from the “remote” aspect of work itself. A lack of physical proximity to coworkers might hurt some work cultures and stymie collaboration. Working from home can also blur the line between professional and personal life, exacerbating employee burnout. Retention might be harder for businesses now that more opportunities abound in more places. Hiring practices, compliance, tax laws, and payments systems can vary across borders and be hard to manage.

The dynamics have yet to play out, but the benefits are already here. Remote work and the acceleration of borderless hiring is a phenomenal global opportunity for geographical equity.

Read more here. 

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