The current situation has caught many industries off-guard. Employees in certain regions are still uncertain about their situation, even though employers are doing their absolute best.

We’re working differently now. Adapting to the new situation in many parts of the world required us to switch to a remote collaboration model, or to implement a hybrid workforce solution. For some industries, it was a rather smooth operation. For others, not so much.

It turns out that remote work can reshape entire regions.

Take a look at how Facebook is solving the situation. Mark Zuckerberg said that the company’s employees will remain remote until July 2021. Facebook’s approach to remote work is changing and its CEO also stated that in 10 years even half of their employees could be working outside of Menlo Park headquarters.

What About the Real-Estate Market?

If other tech companies in the area follow in Facebook’s footsteps, the move will have a huge impact on Silicon Valley. This Californian region is recognized as one of the most expensive places to live in. Already extreme real estate prices continue to surge due to the booming tech industry. The latest data shows that single-family re-sale homes went up by a whopping 33.2 percent year-over-year, and the sales alone increased by 11.4 percent compared to last August. If most technology firms located in Santa Clara were to go remote, a new paradigm would be created. One could earn a San Francisco salary—one that takes into account the cost of living in the Bay Area—but move to a location with lower living costs.

Interestingly enough, Facebook already recognizes that trend and plans to cut the salaries of remote workers that move outside of San Francisco. Moreover, the social media giant doesn’t allow everyone to exercise the remote working scenario. It’s reserved for team members that are already experienced high-performers that do not require access to local infrastructure or are not involved with compliance. Roles such as content reviewers, hardware engineers, data center technicians, client-facing sales, policy, and partnerships are still required to work stationary.

Facebook’s approach is similar to how other technology companies deal with the current situation, both in the Bay Area as well as in similar hubs around the world. Adobe transitioned 22,000 employees into a remote workforce over a single weekend—and the process is described in detail here. In the words of Ashley Still, senior VP and general manager of digital media at Adobe:

“This shift would change not only the way we were operating, but also how our customers were working, too. With everyone working remotely, the need to digitally transform business processes and improve digital collaboration wasn’t a luxury anymore; it became critical. Collaboration, sharing, and reviewing documents was suddenly essential for success. The push to paperless accelerated.”

It’s still a world of deadlines, meetings, coworkers, and bosses. But, in all honesty, it’s a world that’s changing—and it’s a world that we need to embrace. 

The Remote Work Landscape of Dubai

Up until recently, Dubai remained rather closed to people coming to work in the city. It had a rather traditional approach to remote and freelance jobs. Typically, foreigners that wished to start a job in Dubai could do that only after their employer would pay for their visa and private healthcare.

There are also types of freelancer visas that cost at least $2,000 per year and require the freelancer to pay the insurance by himself (or herself). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) couldn’t really be categorized as an environment that’s open for remote workers. In most cases, the employers would require a rather conventional, stationery collaboration. The shift to a more flexible work has started just about a year or two prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Ever since the pandemic, freelance visa prices in Dubai have been significantly reduced through a new remote work program—$250 per year. Social insurance still needs to be paid and, dependant on the individual’s situation, a reasonable assessment of the yearly cost would be $2,720.

If it were not for the move to remote work, an estimated 900,000 jobs would be at risk. It’s a tough situation for UAE as almost 90% of its inhabitants are foreigners. Many of them might be forced to leave.

The pandemics have already made over 480,000 Indian, 60,000 Pakistani, and 40,000 Philippine workers to leave their jobs and move back home.

Taking Care of Your Workforce

COVID-19 pandemic is still a major challenge to the world of work. Especially now, as we are already experiencing a rise in cases in Europe and throughout the world.

Remote work and hybrid workforce models are examples of how high-level shift towards a new world of work can happen overnight. We strongly believe that—instead of wishful thinking—we should rather embrace the new and try to get ahead of the issue, however difficult it is. Taking care of employees’ health always should’ve been the top priority—and this sentence is now more important than ever.

Oct 16, 2020
Future of Work

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