Among the many changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the world of work is the democratization of telework and one of its corollaries, the trivialization of very long journeys between work and the place of life. Indeed, in 2020 and 2021, many employees moved to the countryside to confine themselves, live near their loved ones or have a more pleasant and less expensive environment. What was supposed to be a temporary situation for many senior executives has often turned into a permanent one. The BBC confirm:
“This is not a new phenomenon. In sprawling countries like the United States, some workers, mostly senior managers, have been traveling long distances for years. But the pandemic has accentuated this phenomenon, as more and more people are turning to an employment model that combines remote work with occasional visits to the office. Could this new way of life be the future, as workers hybridize their practices and build their lives further away from urban centres? ”
The UK site caught up with product marketing manager Blaine Bassett, who moved from San Francisco, where he works, to scenic Lake Tahoe, 300km away, in September 2021. Blaine Bassett still lives in Lake Tahoe and does what he does. we call “super journeys”, which are defined as journeys of at least three hours – round trip – two or three times a month. It takes a lot of planning, but he doesn’t regret his choice.
The BBC also points out that he is far from the only one in this situation: “4.9 million Americans have moved since 2020 because working from home enabled them to do so, while in 2021 more Australians left big cities than in the past two decades.” The phenomenon also concerns the United Kingdom, where the price of real estate, in particular, has pushed many people to leave their London homes.
For Robert Pozen, lecturer at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the rise of teleworking means that this new way of life has a bright future ahead of it. Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Texas, emphasizes the tensions inherent in this choice:
Fulton points out that not everything is simple because companies would like their managers to be present in the office as much as possible while they would like the opposite. This can become a subject of negotiation, even tension. Bassett himself admits that his lifestyle cuts him off from the sociability he had with his colleagues and makes team culture more difficult to establish. Yet, like others, he can’t even imagine going back to his old life.