2020: The Watershed Year for Remote Work

As someone who's been advocating for remote work for almost a decade and working fully remote himself for half that time, I never could have guessed that the tide would turn so dramatically within the span of a few months. Due to a once-in-a-century pandemic, we're suddenly inside the greatest experiment in the history of...well...work.

When I was writing my to-this-day most popular blog post ever--But Where Do People Work in This Office?--back in 2015, Facebook was in the midst of building the world's largest open-plan office. Mark Zuckerberg had a dream of "the perfect engineering space: one giant room that fits thousands of people, all close enough to collaborate together."

And in May of this year, Facebook in an about-face announced that it will let many employees work from home permanently. Zuckerberg is quoted as saying, "We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale."

Twitter, another open-plan bandwagon company I highlighted in my aforementioned post, also announced in May their employees are now encouraged to work remotely permanently if they please.

The CEO of Shopify said about his company's COVID-initiated transition to permanent remote work, "We choose to jump in the driver’s seat, instead of being passengers to the changes ahead. We cannot go back to the way things were. This isn’t a choice; this is the future."

With all the horror of 2020, I'm hoping we can at least look back on this year as a landmark of the Information Age when the world finally woke up to the liberating force of remote work.