March 09, 2021

Why I Predict Working From Home Isn’t the Future of Work

Sam Caucci

Recently, I’ve been seeing more and more news stories claiming that “work will stay remote” or that “telework is the future of work,” and frankly, I’m getting sick of it.

Why? Because most of these news stories don’t say who will be working from home. 

The reality is that highly-educated, upper-class workers who work at Fortune 500 companies and large enterprises might remote work forever, but that won’t be the new norm for the average worker. 

In 2020, frontline workers, essential workers, and healthcare workers have been lauded as the real heroes of our workforce — and they are. The workers who have risked their lives and safety every day this year are the people who have kept our society and economy from collapsing altogether. So why are we ignoring the fact that these essential workers have never had the privilege or ability to work from home? What is the future of work for them?

A recent analysis from the World Economic Forum of more than 2,000 activities across 800 occupations in nine countries found that “the potential for remote work is concentrated among highly skilled, highly educated workers in a handful of industries, occupations and geographies.” 

Maybe I still haven’t convinced you. Maybe you think that once huge companies like Twitter and Google go permanently remote, other companies will slowly follow suit. But data from the past year tells a different story. Let’s break it down a little:

Who’s been working from home over the past year?

A recent study from Gallup found that: 

  • 33% of U.S. workers are always working remotely during the pandemic.
  • 25% of workers sometimes work from home during the pandemic.
  • 41% of workers have never worked from home during the pandemic.
Who are the workers that are able to work from home?

Pew Research found that “there’s a clear class divide between workers who can and cannot telework.” 

  • Fully 62% of workers with a bachelor’s degree or more education say their work can be done from home. 
  • Only 23% of workers without a four-year college degree say most or all of their work can be done from home. 
  • 83% of workers with a high school diploma or less education say that their job cannot be done from home.

Almost two-thirds of people in the U.S. workforce do not have a college degree, and these are the workers who are being left behind in the media narrative claiming that ‘remote work is here to stay.’

What about from a DEI perspective?

It’s also important to note there is a stark racial divide between who can and cannot work from home. According to Pew Research:

  • 57% of Asian American workers say they can do their job from home. 
  • 39% of White workers say they can do their job from home.
  • 37% of Black workers say they can do their job from home.
  • 29% of Hispanic workers say they can do their job from home.

So why am I telling you all of this? Why am I so bothered by the narrative that the future of work will be remote?

Well, it’s because at 1Huddle we are committed to fighting for every worker. And every worker includes low-income workers, it includes workers without a degree, it includes workers of every race and background; and I’m frustrated that so many of these workers are being overlooked. 

See, we believe that every worker deserves access to the training, support, and mentorship they need to win on the job, which is why we’re working every day for every worker — from frontline to full time — so we can build a workforce that is more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and fired up.

So if you want to find out more about how you can join the movement to RAISE every worker, then head over to the 1Huddle policy page to get involved. And if you want to share your predictions on the future of work with us, then take our Forward Survey today. 

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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RAISE Every Worker