The technology that makes remote work possible has never been more advanced. The cutting-edge companies that create remote work tools like chatting tools, teleconferencing software, voice-over-IP solutions, VPNs, and other key technologies have never been more important or more innovative than they are now. As a matter of fact, remote work of all sorts is on the rise. That hasn’t led to an immediate extinction of office work or city living, of course, but perhaps we shouldn’t expect it to do so.
There are a lot of reasons for companies to seek out the latest and greatest communications and remote work tools, and those reasons aren’t always all related to the idea of having employees who live far from the company’s headquarters. Meeting with other companies via teleconference, for instance, can enable quick deal-making and save companies a mint on travel. Also, when employees do travel, they can work remotely on a temporary basis. Even a company without a big work-from-home culture can benefit from having the necessary toolkit.
Remote work of this sort of temporary basis is on the rise. Thanks to VPNs and video conferencing tools, an increasing number of employees report working at least some amount from home. The opportunity to work remotely some of the time is also a major factor in many jobseekers’ decisions. There are also folks who work just from home, living the sort of remote-work lifestyle that you seem to be envisioning. There are benefits to this, of course. It can be cheaper for companies and more convenient for employees. Then, there are the freelancers who can work for many companies and individuals all over the country (and even the world). Some remote workers choose to travel while they work. That would not have been possible years ago!
Still, don’t expect office culture to die off too soon. There are still advantages to going into an office on a regular basis. Studies suggest that folks who work remotely are at a disadvantage when it comes to demonstrating their hard work and other qualities that could lead to them getting a promotion or a raise. Company camaraderie and morale could get a boost from in-person work, too.
Even if you are a full-time remote worker, you may find yourself in a city! While you might not need to commute downtown for work, you may find yourself commuting downtown for fun. From dating and nightlife to museums and recreation, there are still plenty of reasons to head for population centers. No wonder, then, that cities like New York City boast a large number of remote workers. Not all of them hop in RVs and leave for the mountains!
Of course, this is still very much a fluid situation. As technologies that make remote work easy get better and better, we may see further changes in the way we work. Companies are finding new ways to communicate with employees, beef up online security, and solve other problems related to remote work. You can expect the equilibrium to continue to change. However, don’t be surprised if your career and place of employment remain a major factor in where you live.
“For all those sitting in traffic right now.” – Jason Fried