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Remote work could redefine the global workforce for good

While implementing remote work structures seems to be a priority for most tech firms, there are still some concerns about its long-term efficacy.

As the global economy continues to reel from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing data suggesting that more and more people are now favoring a remote work-based lifestyle. In this regard, a survey sample of working United States citizens shows that Millennial and Generation Z workers prefer joining a remote workforce and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as opposed to going to an office.

As part of the study, more than 1,100 U.S. citizens were asked to provide their preferences regarding remote work and the emergence of DAOs in recent years. Using research pertaining to DAOs published by the Harvard Law School, the survey showed how DAOs have seen their coffers grow from a respectable $400 million to a whopping $16 billion over the course of 2021 alone. This staggering growth of 3,900% came in concurrence with the number of people participating in DAOs and other remote work ventures surging from 13,000 to 1.6 million.

Simply put, 75% of the survey’s participants believe that in the near-to-mid term, companies will have to offer their users remote work options whether they like the idea or not, with the authors further noting, “The survey results show that a majority of respondents seek all of the things that DACs provide; remote work opportunities, independence from management, and influence over the organizations they work in.”

Is remote work the future?

To get a better overview of how remote work has continued to redefine the global job market, Cointelegraph reached out to Adam Simmons, chief strategy officer of RDX Works — a core developer for the decentralized public blockchain Radix. In his view, the trend of people opting for remote work will continue to garner more and more traction in the near term, adding:

“As an emerging industry, Web3 has a talent shortage. Today, only around 20,000 developers in the world are sufficiently experienced with Web3 tech to work at a production-grade level, signifying just a fraction of the 27 million developers worldwide. Aside from this being a significant barrier to innovation in the space, it means that the companies pioneering a whole new industry must be open to a global workforce.”

A similar sentiment is also shared by Jacob Kowalewski, chief strategy officer of open hosting platform T3rn, who told Cointelegraph that the remote working trend is likely to continue, especially since advances in technology are making it easier and more accessible for people to pursue such avenues. “With more and more young people choosing to work for themselves or starting their own businesses, the traditional office-based workplace is becoming less and less appealing,” he said.

Brett Fincaryk, marketing lead at Qtum — a scalable proof-of-stake platform — told Cointelegraph that over the last couple of years, hiring remote workers has helped his firm onboard new staff without all the traditional overheads that brick-and-mortar entities require.

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“With lockdowns easing across the globe, many workers have been ordered back to the office and simply don’t want to go, so they are now looking for remote work. This has made it easier for us to acquire new talent, and with fewer projects hiring right now, we have more options when sending job offers,” he said.

A look at the numbers

Taking a more statistical approach, Denys Ustymenko, founder and CEO of global IT crypto processing project 1TN, told Cointelegraph that several surveys, including one from Gartner, have shown that prior to COVID-19, 70% of workers had never worked remotely. However, after the pandemic, these numbers have decreased to 38%. And while there are still organizations that are not able to fully embrace remote work, he is convinced that such companies need to adapt to the “new normal” and change their HR policies.

“I would say that Millennial and Generation Z workers pulled the lucky ticket in terms of having the ability to work remotely. In fact, 62% of all employees now expect their employers to allow them to work remotely. Often, organizations may steer away from remote working models for fear their employees may become less productive; however, the opposite is the reality,” he said.

Despite the apparent benefit of the remote working model, Ustymenko noted that being the founder and CEO of a remote-first company has made him realize the challenges that come with it. The most vital being the establishment of a common culture, team building and effective communication among employees. He noted:

“When your entire team is spread across different time zones, poor motivation and a lack of involvement can become a problem. However, such issues can not overwhelm the huge potential that can be reached by making companies remote first.”

Lastly, it should be pointed out that, as of 2022, 16% of companies worldwide now allow 100% remote work, with 27% of these employers reporting a marked increase in company productivity. Moreover, a Forbes article stated that 25% of all professional jobs in North America are destined to become fully remote by the end of 2022.

Not everyone is sold on the idea of remote work

Saad Rizvi, chief procurement officer and partner at SuperLayer — a venture studio focused on Web3 consumer companies — told Cointelegraph he doesn’t believe the idea of an office setting is going to completely disappear or change anytime soon:

“Even large tech companies, which readily embraced the work-from-home model during the pandemic, have been reversing course, drawing the ire of their employees. I think one of the primary reasons behind this effort is the widespread underestimation of the value of in-person interactions.” 

Kowalewski also agrees with this assertion, stating that there will always be a need for some jobs that require face-to-face interactions, and therefore, the trend toward remote work will only partially replace the traditional office-based workplace. 

“But it’s becoming more popular, and we’re likely to see even more companies offering remote work policies in the years ahead. T3rn provides a fully remote work policy with offices in Lisbon and Berlin,” he added.

Harrison Comfort, co-founder of decentralized finance protocol DAM Finance, believes that while virtual conferences tend to work for a vast majority of a company’s internal meetings — especially if everyone comes prepared and carves out the appropriate amount of time — nothing beats in-person interactions.

Furthermore, he pointed out that, owing to the geographic dispersion of most teams, even office-based work is quickly transitioning into in-real-life meet-ups at local cafes — i.e., wherever the majority of the team happens to be that week. This again is because face-to-face communication is much more effective than texting or video calling.

Remote work’s impact on crypto and blockchain jobs

One of the core values of Web3 is decentralization, and from the outside looking in, remote work matches up with this approach. In this regard, Rizvi believes that for the crypto and blockchain job market, geographical borders aren’t as relevant as they are for more traditional industries:

“From our experience, more remote workers can add meaningful value and momentum to our nascent industry, namely by expanding the available talent pool. I think that we have an extraordinary opportunity right now to capitalize on the exodus from big tech fomented in part by the return to office orders.”

Moreover, he pointed out that many of the projects in the blockchain ecosystem don’t run on the same hierarchical approach that is characteristic of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. 

“By design, these ecosystems are designed to foster collaboration. Collaboration is not limited to an office setting, and the move to remote work is a reflection of that reality,” Rizvi concluded.

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Kowalewski believes that as remote work becomes more popular, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry will benefit from a more diverse workforce with new perspectives, ideas and talents, noting:

“One of the benefits of remote work is that it allows people to work from anywhere in the world. This gives crypto and blockchain companies access to talent from all corners of the globe. And since remote work is available 24/7, companies can hire workers around the clock regardless of their time zone.”

Another benefit of remote work, according to him, is that it eliminates borders and physical limitations as to where someone can live. “This allows for a more multicultural environment where people from all walks of life can work together,” he added.

Thus, as we head into a future driven by decentralized technologies, it will be interesting to see how the rapidly evolving remote work paradigm continues to define the global job landscape as well as the job culture prevalent across organizations worldwide.

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