• Brian Milner

Is Working from home a fad or a trend?

Why is there a need to focus on being a Scrum Master in a remote environment? Aren't my regular Scrum Master skills enough? Eventually, we'll return to 'normal' anyway and we won't need remote Scrum Masters anymore, right? If these questions are what you're thinking, buckle up. I'm going to show you why this is NOT just about the CoronaVirus or Shelter-In-Place orders. Having skill as a Scrum Master is a good start, but you'll need to think differently to thrive in a remote environment. And I'll also show you why the 'normal' you're imagining is never coming back. Let's start with this chart:

The data here comes from a 2019 study done by FlexJobs. Let that sink in. These figures were PRE-Covid. The growth rate in remote work jobs across the board has been growing without any outside help. The CoronaVirus was like dumping gasoline on a bonfire. Don't believe it? Even with the stats above, prior to Covid, only 3.6% of the total workforce worked from home half-time or more. That being said, a 2016 study showed that 43% of the workforce worked from home at least part of the time. A March 2020 Gartner survey found that 88% of organizations were asking their employees to work from home during this time. The trend was heading in the remote direction already. Companies were reluctant to consider such a big change in how they did business. Covid forced them to adapt and make remote working a realistic option to run their businesses. The Global Workplace Analytics people provided the following forecast as a result:

"Our prediction is that the longer people are required to work at home, the greater the adoption we will see when the dust settles."

This bold statement is just the beginning. Take a listen to what they went on to say in their report: "We believe, based on historical trends, that those who were working remotely before the pandemic, will increase their frequency after they are allowed to return to their offices. For those who were new to remote work until the pandemic, we believe there will be a significant upswing in their adoption. Our best estimate is that we will see 25-30% of the workforce working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021." Did you catch that? The pre-Covid number was 3.6%. They project the post-Covid number to be 25-30%. That's a heck of a lot of new teams working from home. So what does this mean for us as Agilists? My takeaway from this is that remote is here to stay. There is going to be a market for people who specialize in working with teams who are NOT co-located. It's going to require a new special set of skills to serve your teams as effective Scrum Masters in this new world and that is exactly what my course on the Virtual Scrum Master is set to teach you.


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