I don’t have any hard numbers to prove it, but it is my observation that the future of work (if you can call still it “the future”) is for knowledge workers to be able to work anywhere, anytime. While it was absolutely possible before I think that the COVID pandemic really served to shatter the matrix and accelerate the trend. While some loathe the passing of the office and being “always connected”, I for one embrace what it has to offer.
On a micro scale working asynchronously and remotely means that I can decouple where and how I live from where and how I work, which ironically leads to a more natural integration of the two. Is the most important work you can do only available in the city, but you prefer the country? Now you don’t have to choose. Do you have important work you need to get done, but your doctor is only available in the morning? Now you can do both.
On a macro level async remote work is a huge win for society too. For one thing, it is a huge win for traffic and pollution. It decreases the need for people to crowd in already crowded spaces, and the people in those crowded spaces will benefit from less traffic due to less miles being driven on average per person. Less average miles per person also means less pollution per person. Additionally, the flexibility frees up resources. People working and enjoying leisure at staggered hours instead of all at once means that resources that suffer peak usage periods will suffer them less as the usage is spread out (think highways, potable water systems, electricity, grocery lines, gas stations, etc.).
While there is some concern of always being on, I think if that truly becomes a problem it is worth evaluating if you have an unhealthy relationship with your work and if that relationship is being driven from within or from without. It is sad what happened to accelerate this trend, but I for one am excited to explore the limits of the era of anywhere, anytime.