As organizations quickly pivoted to a remote or hybrid work strategy to keep business moving in the right direction, they relied heavily on unified communications and collaboration systems to take the place of in-person communication that would take place in the office.
According to one videoconferencing provider, data on the location of where remote meetings are taken gives more weight to the idea that today’s workforce can really work from anywhere.
“We knew this remote-centric trend was happening – it was starting years ago,” says Chris Perrotti, vice president and chief of staff of CEO at LogMeIn, which recently released data that shows the number of meetings taken in some of the biggest U.S. cities is on the decline.
Employees move out of big cities
The data, compiled from usage of the company’s GoToMeeting remote work videoconferencing solution, validates the idea that employees can work from anywhere, largely without missing a beat.
The company compared data from November 2020 with data from Nov. 2019, and the results can help legitimize the adoption of a distributed work strategy.
Meetings taken in these big cities reduced:
- Chicago (33%)
- Boston (28%)
- New York City (25%)
- San Francisco (22%)
Further, of the 49% of meetings that moved away from California, 3-4% are now happening in New Jersey, Utah, Texas, Washington and New York each.
New York state saw nearly 11% of meetings move across the country to sunny California, and just under 20% of meetings in New York City actually remained in the Big Apple.
“It sort of starts to support what we were feeling anecdotally – both internally and what you’re reading in the news,” Perrotti says.
Why workers are moving out of big cities
The reason for these mass migrations out of large cities and into more comfortable areas varies, says Perrotti, who himself moved from near LogMeIn’s headquarters in Boston to northern Vermont.
For many, their living spaces in these large cities is too small or not optimal for remote work. For others, moving out of big cities can help them save on living expenses. Others just want a better quality of life in a more sustainable community.
“It’s about space to work effectively,” Perrotti says.
This gives employees the flexibility to live where they want to live, and takes the length of their daily commute out of the equation when looking for a home.
Some workers that made this move – which at first was meant to be temporary until the virus subsides – are finding that this can be a permanent move.
Hybrid work considerations going forward
Permanent remote work – or hybrid work – has shown to be sustainable for the better part of a year now, and concerns have largely been debunked. Now, organizations must look ahead to the future and improve upon their remote work technology stack.
According to Perrotti, organizations must now ask themselves:
- How can we do hybrid work effectively and efficiently?
- How does this change the way we think about sourcing talent?
- How does this change the way we think about onboarding?
- How does this change how we build team culture?
Along those lines, hybrid work can help organizations hire from a wider and more diverse talent pool to meet diversity and inclusion goals, Perrotti says.
The office can still play an important roll for team-building and problem solving, but it will never be the same.
“The days of going to the office, sitting at a desk 9-to-5 to get my work done – I think those days are over,” Perrotti says, adding that the office can still be a place for organizations to build culture.
“But when I need to get my work done, I think I’ll be home.”