We’ve known that remote work was the new normal since early 2020. But, signs are beginning to emerge that we may never go back to the way things were before. Amazon recently announced that they are pausing the construction on multiple buildings, including office buildings in Washington and Tennessee. While some companies are continuing to recall employees, this change is definitely a sign of the times.
Unemployment continues to remain relatively low at 3.6 percent overall, and Amazon has over 70 thousand job openings currently posted on LinkedIn’s career site. Pausing the construction may be in part due to less than favorable news shared on a recent Amazon earnings call. But, it could be argued that it’s more than this.
We are relying on Amazon more now than ever before, from ordering everyday items online to grocery delivery, and streaming services. Amazon’s success is very much dependent on technology. And, as such, it is dependent on technology talent.
Before the pandemic, the best technology workers needed to be flexible with regards to location. Often, tech talent would relocate to San Francisco, Seattle, or New York in order to be competitive. But, remote work has introduced a new dynamic. Tech workers are moving away from big, expensive cities to the suburbs. And, some are returning closer to their roots. Moving away from the city allows workers to both save money, and to have a better quality of life.
Tech talent is hard to find and to hire. Companies are paying high salaries for niche skillsets. And, Amazon knows that. They also know that tech workers want the option to work from anywhere. In addition, studies have shown that money is no longer the most important factor for many employees. Employees are much more concerned with work life balance.
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 for the employer and the employee.
In addition, when employees do come together in person, it’s different than in the past. Employees are no longer sitting in their cubicles all day. They aren’t going to drive an hour round trip to be isolated at work. They can do that at home. If they’re going in person, it’s to work collaboratively with their team.
Collaborative work requires a different type of workspace. For companies who are still building, they’re considering a more hybrid building model. Others are renting space in coworking buildings like WeWork.
Either way, the old building is history. The sooner that more businesses realize this, the more likely they are to be competitive with hiring. And, in turn, they will be more competitive in business. Employees want more balance and more control over their daily lives. They have more choices than ever before, and they know it. It’s time for companies to realize that there’s no looking back. This is the new normal.