Working From Wherever

It’s time to call it. We’re through the looking glass and work is fundamentally changing. I had been thinking that once the pandemic was sufficiently behind us, we’d see people flocking back to the office and that would be that.

I marveled that Salesforce went so far out of its way to quickly develop and Salesforce Anywhere to support a workforce made more mobile than ever. But I also worried that those wonderful products would be as useful as a screen door on a submarine once we went back to the office. But now, I think Salesforce might be looking prescient.

Ironically, I’ve been working from my home office for almost 20 years, and it never occurred to me that other people might want the chance to do the same. I can only say that I was wrong. Lots of hunches and some interesting data tell us that other people don’t necessarily relish going back to their old jobs or their old ways of working.

The hunches, for instance that the stimulus money is making it hard to hire, turn out to be right but only in the way that a broken clock is right twice a day.

Instead, many people have used the break to assess where they are in their lives and careers and some, enough to cause a trend, are saying no thanks to the old status quo. Many are also seeking better pay. So maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to cancel the subscription.

Jobseekers’ Market

But there’s more to it than workers wanting better conditions and new careers, there’s demographics too.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, the working age population, those 20 to 64, is no longer growing and the lack of hirable people with exactly the skillsets that employers want, is becoming apparent.

Companies are beginning to work harder to find staff, and some are even going back to hiring people without experience and training them. Workers are gaining the upper hand.

Some of the data driving these phenomena include more people quitting their jobs without something lined up — and job openings are spiking. As a result, wages for nonmanagerial workers are rising. Earnings were up 1.3 percent in May compared to 2 months earlier.

According to the Times, “Workers are more emboldened to leave a job if employers are insufficiently flexible on issues like working from home.” There you have it.

The number of jobs advertised that don’t require experience or that are associated with training programs is higher than it has been in years.

A survey conducted by the Conference Board confirms many suspicions. They found that 49 percent of companies with mostly blue-collar workforces were having trouble retaining workers compared to only 30 percent pre-Covid.

Road Warrior Accommodations

Anecdotally, people who can work from anywhere literally are. They are buying RVs in record numbers and hitting the road. Many are retired or scaling back on their hours, but I personally know others who are in prime working age and who are hitting the road.

Moreover, if the population of working age people isn’t growing, it suggests that people in the retirement range might be in demand though businesses will need to accommodate them (and their RV dreams).

From the outside it seems the digital disruption is being disrupted. If the original disruption was about leveraging company data to better understand customers and to meet them where they are, the new disruption depends on all that plus supporting worker efforts wherever their lifestyles take them. For some this means working at home; but for others it means intermittent connectivity and mobile devices.

Thus, cloud-based mobile worker support might not be fully articulated yet and we might not even know what apps and modules need developing. The things that are certain though are that we don’t know what we don’t know and that working from home might have only been the first iteration.

Denis Pombriant

Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can't Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there. Email Denis.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

E-Commerce Times Channels