In the past couple of weeks, Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify have all announced that they are going to continue to allow employees to work from home indefinitely. Other corporate giants such as Morgan Stanley, Mondelez, Nationwide Insurance, and Barclays are strongly considering doing the same.
While Saint-Paul, my employer is not a corporate giant, it has recently been acquired by a large Belgium media company. And their CEO, basically my über-boss, mentioned in an interview that he thinks we'll all be working from home and only come to the office for meetings that absolutely have to take place in person. I like that guy already!
Back to Mark Manson:
With most of the workforce being remote, I could see cities instead organizing themselves around hobbies, interests, and attractions. Cities will develop much more "character" and "personality" as the increased freedom of movement will drive like-minded people to each geographic location.
Luxembourg is a weird country in many ways. Because it is such a rich country, the capital, conveniently called Luxembourg-City, has some characteristics of big cities, including incredibly ridiculous real estate prices. But Luxembourg is tiny. So, as soon as you drive 20 minutes in either direction, you end up in a more rural area.
I have always lived north of the capital. For us, us being my social circle living here, Luxembourg-City has always been a city organized around hobbies. Want to go to a good restaurant? Luxembourg-City. Want to go shopping? Luxembourg-City. Want to go out for a few drinks? Luxembourg-City. You get the point.
But: It is also the place where all the companies are. It's where you commute to every day to get to work. And as for other major cities, getting there is a shit show. Traffic jams are the norm.
The pandemic changed this. Nearly 70% of the workforce in Luxembourg is working from home, either full-time or part-time. And suddenly, no more traffic jams. The government over here seems to love it. From the Luxembourg Times:
"Teleworking has gained in importance with the current crisis," a spokesman for the finance ministry said in an email. The country also promised more political parleying about the issue with its neighbours.
"One objective for the Grand Duchy is to continue to promote and facilitate teleworking for its citizens and commuters together with its three neighbouring countries," the spokesman said.
There are still some legal issues though, particularly for commuters coming from the neighbouring countries, Germany, France and Belgium.
But the more people talk about it, the more it seems it's here to stay. And the more companies adopt it, the more I believe companies that are still against home-office will lose their workforce during the next couple of years.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what will happen to the country and the capital.