Developers
July 31, 2020

The Delicate Balance of Urban Living and WFH

Major urban centers offer so much for getting your career up and running, if you can front the costs of living in one. But the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a remote working revolution that is changing the ways individuals stay productive, where they work from, and also the nature of city planning.
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Living in a major urban center has been the dream of millennials and the younger generation of Americans for much of the 21st century. Being in an urban center promises so much, and has given young people the capability to do what they want, provided they have a decent income and purchasing power to finance their lifestyles. The arts, coffee shops, concert venues, green space for meeting with friends and exercising—these are all things that complement the modern working urbanite, create a work/life balance, and compels such a person to economically spend money in the city and put that money into the hands of small business owners. This is just part of the feedback loop that has allowed U.S. cities to stay thriving beacons of innovation and development in recent years.

Adjustments will of course need to be made though, with the advent of Covid-19 and so many workers unable to use public transport anymore, or not wanting to because of health risks, as well as the inability to go back to traditional office spaces. This shift has left many in urban centers, still paying the same amount for rent, but not having the additional square footage they need to work comfortably from home, and also not able to enjoy the amenities they once enjoyed, questioning whether or not they should leave cities altogether.  

In recent months, Twitter’s announcement that workers can work remotely permanently has led to a domino-effect of other organizations following suit, challenging the status-quo of what cities will look like by the end of 2020 and for years to come.

Remote work is also gaining popularity because study after study is concluding that workers are more productive working from home, as they can plan their days out better and take more breaks. However, the total time workers are spending at home, usually in their apartments, is creating a general desire to want to leave cities altogether for more space.

Productivity and Innovation

According to an Airtasker study, telecommuters, "worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year" than people who worked in an office. A similar FlexJobs study found that 76% of respondents said they'd be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. In fact, according to Owl Labs, companies that allow remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work. While this might be true, it is interesting to think how the current shift will either lead to more innovation in the future or less,

The first way to look at how remote work will lead to a gain or loss in innovation is to understand how leaving the city and moving to a suburb will affect innovation. In other words, do the amenities a city has to offer boost creativity amongst employees and is this same creativity outlet available in the suburbs? To keep it frank, cities, and their centers, offer amazing outlets that spur an individuals creativity in ways that aren’t really measured. When thinking about art openings, architecture, famous sites, and parks, these spaces help us relax when the working day is over but also, and perhaps on a more subtle level, inspire workers to think differently about projects they are working on when they come back to their desks. It is yet to be determined if the suburbs can offer such outlets.  

In the other instance, remote working is creating new avenues for innovation in terms of how cities use their space, as Covid-19 has literally been a policy push for car-free zones in some of the biggest cities in the world. These initiatives have drastically cut pollution, and even as cities do start to re-open, citizens and remote workers alike have engaged in new healthy habits such as commuting by bike resulting in less traffic congestion and less risks to chronic health conditions.

TagsWork From HomeCovid-19Remote Work
Michael Robbins
Writer
Michael is a writer that helps organizations align their mission and values to a wide audience.

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DevelopersJuly 31, 2020
The Delicate Balance of Urban Living and WFH
Major urban centers offer so much for getting your career up and running, if you can front the costs of living in one. But the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a remote working revolution that is changing the ways individuals stay productive, where they work from, and also the nature of city planning.

Living in a major urban center has been the dream of millennials and the younger generation of Americans for much of the 21st century. Being in an urban center promises so much, and has given young people the capability to do what they want, provided they have a decent income and purchasing power to finance their lifestyles. The arts, coffee shops, concert venues, green space for meeting with friends and exercising—these are all things that complement the modern working urbanite, create a work/life balance, and compels such a person to economically spend money in the city and put that money into the hands of small business owners. This is just part of the feedback loop that has allowed U.S. cities to stay thriving beacons of innovation and development in recent years.

Adjustments will of course need to be made though, with the advent of Covid-19 and so many workers unable to use public transport anymore, or not wanting to because of health risks, as well as the inability to go back to traditional office spaces. This shift has left many in urban centers, still paying the same amount for rent, but not having the additional square footage they need to work comfortably from home, and also not able to enjoy the amenities they once enjoyed, questioning whether or not they should leave cities altogether.  

In recent months, Twitter’s announcement that workers can work remotely permanently has led to a domino-effect of other organizations following suit, challenging the status-quo of what cities will look like by the end of 2020 and for years to come.

Remote work is also gaining popularity because study after study is concluding that workers are more productive working from home, as they can plan their days out better and take more breaks. However, the total time workers are spending at home, usually in their apartments, is creating a general desire to want to leave cities altogether for more space.

Productivity and Innovation

According to an Airtasker study, telecommuters, "worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year" than people who worked in an office. A similar FlexJobs study found that 76% of respondents said they'd be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. In fact, according to Owl Labs, companies that allow remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work. While this might be true, it is interesting to think how the current shift will either lead to more innovation in the future or less,

The first way to look at how remote work will lead to a gain or loss in innovation is to understand how leaving the city and moving to a suburb will affect innovation. In other words, do the amenities a city has to offer boost creativity amongst employees and is this same creativity outlet available in the suburbs? To keep it frank, cities, and their centers, offer amazing outlets that spur an individuals creativity in ways that aren’t really measured. When thinking about art openings, architecture, famous sites, and parks, these spaces help us relax when the working day is over but also, and perhaps on a more subtle level, inspire workers to think differently about projects they are working on when they come back to their desks. It is yet to be determined if the suburbs can offer such outlets.  

In the other instance, remote working is creating new avenues for innovation in terms of how cities use their space, as Covid-19 has literally been a policy push for car-free zones in some of the biggest cities in the world. These initiatives have drastically cut pollution, and even as cities do start to re-open, citizens and remote workers alike have engaged in new healthy habits such as commuting by bike resulting in less traffic congestion and less risks to chronic health conditions.

Work From Home
Covid-19
Remote Work
About the author
Michael Robbins -Writer
Michael is a writer that helps organizations align their mission and values to a wide audience.

Related Articles