Since early 2020, we’ve known remote work is the new normal. But there are signs that we may never be the way we were before. Amazon recently announced it would pause construction on several buildings, including office buildings in Washington and Tennessee. While some companies continue to recall employees, this change is definitely a sign of the times.
Unemployment remains relatively low at 3.6 percent overall, and Amazon currently has over 70,000 job postings on LinkedIn’s careers page. The pause in construction could be partly due to less-than-favorable news shared on a recent Amazon earnings call. But one could argue that it’s more than that.
Now more than ever, we rely on Amazon for everything from online ordering of everyday essentials to grocery delivery and streaming services. Amazon’s success depends heavily on technology. And as such, it relies on technology talent.
Before the pandemic, the best technicians had to be location flexible. Tech talent often moved to San Francisco, Seattle or New York to be competitive. But remote work has introduced a new dynamic. Tech workers are moving to the suburbs, away from big, expensive cities. And some are returning closer to their roots. Moving out of the city allows workers to both save money and have a better quality of life.
Tech talent is hard to find and hire. Companies pay high salaries for niche skills. And Amazon knows that. They also know that tech workers want the ability to work from anywhere. Studies have also shown that money is no longer the most important factor for many employees. Work-life balance is much more of a concern for employees.
It makes sense that Amazon would stop building more office buildings. It saves them money. It allows them to hire workers anywhere. It’s a win-win situation for employers and employees.
Even when employees meet face-to-face, it’s different than it used to be. Employees no longer sit in their cubicles all day. You won’t drive an hour round trip to be isolated at work. You can do that at home. If they come in person, it’s to work with their team.
Collaborative working requires a different kind of workspace. Companies that are still building are considering a more hybrid building model. Others rent space in coworking buildings like WeWork.
Either way, the old building is history. The sooner more companies realize this, the more likely they are to be competitive when it comes to hiring. And in return, they will be more competitive in business. Employees want more balance and more control over their everyday lives. They have more choices than ever, and they know it. It’s time for companies to realize there’s no turning back. This is the new normal.
Angela Copeland, a leadership and careers expert, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.