7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend

Remote work was forced on many employers last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a simple, mid-pandemic consensus that “remote work is here to stay.” But as the crisis fades, organizations will get to choose where employees do their work — now with a new set of tools, expectations, and experiences.

As Marc Andreessen said recently, we are undergoing “a permanent civilizational shift” where we can divorce “physical location from economic opportunity.” He’s probably right in the long term, but we still have many questions to answer before that utopian dream is realized.

Here are the seven inconvenient truths and unresolved issues around the new hybrid and remote work trend.

Many digital nomads now are full-time employees.

Emergent Research and MBO Partners found in a recent study that the number of Americans self-identifying as digital nomads rose from 7.3 million in 2019 to 10.9 million in 2020 — an increase of 49%. That’s a huge number, when you consider that (as of 2018) the United States employed 64.2 million white-collar workers, a number that includes those (like most healthcare workers and others) who cannot work as digital nomads.