As Covid-19 swept across the world, it has challenged and altered society in ways previously considered unimaginable. Out of all the challenges and alterations, working from home became the emerging norm as virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Go-To-Meeting, and many others maintained connectivity and ensured the streamlined progression of work in key sectors at the backdrop of halted economic activities during the strict lockdown phases.
However, as the world’s population is getting increasingly vaccinated, the post-Covid-19 world is tested against reality. It is because, in the initial days of the pandemic, when the virus spread at an unprecedented rate and there was no way in sight to contain its spread, the only way forward was to limit human connection by sending workers home.
Thus, working from home became the most lucrative option to keep the people safe and work to remain unabated. Office towers in the US and most of the western world became vacant and uncanny silence permeated the once active and hushed conference rooms and hallways.
The bright side of working from home
The working from the home norm has led to a degree of rethinking of work culture among people who were previously trapped in the daily grind. For over a year, ever since work from home dominated the office culture, people no longer engage in arduous or tiring commutes particularly in large cities of the Western world that takes hours every day.
Moreover, they no longer require to spend in a work wardrobe, buy lunches and snacks on their way to work, and most importantly engage in draining arguments with co-workers or managers in offices.
For the most part, what is appealing than anything else is the fact that working from home has offered people the advantage of adopting flexible schedules in their comfort zone. Furthermore, technological advancement and communication revolution has streamlined interaction through the use of hand-held devices and robust internet connection making people tech-savvy and more productive.
With such positives, going back to the way things were is something the people are not looking forward to. Research shows that even with the Covid-19 threat at bay, people are not willing to return to the old schedules and work from office norm.
Thus, going back to the way things were is not on the agenda of the post-Covid world; people are readily looking for flexible options such as a hybrid model that will allow them to come to the office twice or thrice a week or pitch for a full-time work from home option.
Increase in diversification
To explain this budding change in work ethic, Raj Chaudhry, a Harvard Researcher, writes in his research thesis, “Our Work from Anywhere Future” that it is a positive note for the highly skilled workforce in the non-western world.
It is because if remote work is available and in demand due to shifting work dynamics in the job market and workforce, the opportunities are endless in this regard for a skilled and highly qualified candidate to grow professionally in his respective field.
In other words, the situation of the job market has reversed. Instead of global mobility being the defining factor for workers to go where jobs are, the jobs could easily go where the workers are. In the west, work from anywhere has become dominant and if people can work from their headquarters, the workforce can be hired from anywhere in the world.
Therefore, if a company is looking for software engineers or web content developers, and if they are offering remote work, then the job market can become increasingly diversified and accommodating. This eliminates the need for “employment visas” for cross-border employment and its cumbersome procedures.
An opportunity for Pakistan
Those companies who are offering the work-from-home option to their workers are considering pay cuts. If Facebook has kept the work from anywhere option open for its staff, it is pulling the strings by incorporating pay cuts for those who are moving out of the expensive Silicon Valley area and deciding where to live.
If deciphered globally, the hiring companies are considering paying their workers based on their respective country’s job market under the work from anywhere framework. Furthermore, the element of increased stress and anxiety due to the overwhelming “remoteness” of work from home cannot be ignored.
Despite having certain discreet cons of work from home, it is undeniable that it is going to be the future code of employments and professions. Such a change should be a welcoming one for countries like Pakistan who have a burgeoning young population and thriving talent. Considerable investment in human capital through organizing and developing the workforce following the changing needs of work is the need of the hour.
With strong policymaking concerning the youth’s intellectual and cognitive development and streamlining resources to facilitate this initiative, Pakistan can enable its highly skilled workforce to fill work-from-anywhere job slots as they become attractive to foreign employers.
A promising future amid chaos
Work from anywhere provides avenues for limitless opportunities for the Pakistani workforce and the growth of its economy. In this respect, the government of Pakistan and the chambers of commerce should team with multinationals and foreign corporations that are seeking fresh and skilled talent.
The world is on the trajectory of dynamism where the nature of work and employments are transforming exponentially. A highly skilled Pakistani workforce, who were previously in a disadvantaged position due to the country’s geographical location can shine in this promising environment.
The new environment foreshadows a future that is defined by flexibility and novel connections that were previously inconceivable. As remote work changes the western world, it is drastically changing the non-western world as it is now stepping into the highly skilled job markets.
As strict visa rules take a backseat, digital globalization steps in to create a virtual familiarity with places where one works but has never been before.
Hadia Mukhtar is a Pakistani geopolitical analyst in Karachi with a keen interest in international relations. She has worked as a content writer for international publications and has worked on non-fiction books. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.