Observing the progress of the unplanned global experiment in remote working that the Covid-19 pandemic posed, we released our new report, Remote Work in Europe, 2030.

But these changes began well before 2020. The advent of the internet found fertile ground in the 20th century amid relative political stability and the integration of world economies, revolutionising many aspects of our lives. Digital communication, expansive WiFi coverage, and the wide variety of devices at our disposal all impacted our perspective of distance and communication. It is easy to see an emerging trend when we look at the technology we’ve invested in, and how it has shaped the changes we are going through now.

During this year, many workers were forced to work away from the office, using the tools digitisation offers to perform many of the same tasks in a slightly different way. But, remote work jobs can offer employees more freedom of choice. It removes the onus of living close to the office, daily commutes, and in some cases, being tied to a strict 9–5.

Individual workers are not alone in pushing for and benefiting from these changes. Countries are already experimenting with remote work visas to lure virtual office workers. Businesses can reduce costs by cutting into the real estate budget, setting up headquarters in smaller, less expensive cities, or recruiting from a global talent pool. This is a great opportunity for businesses on multiple levels. Ingrid Ødegaard, Founder & CPTO of Whereby, a video conferencing platform, explains the benefits she’s seen:

‘At Whereby we believe that the concept of borderless talent is the greatest lever for diversity, equity and inclusion. [Moreover] one of the advantages of Europe vs. Silicon Valley is that there’s not one hub, but 15–20 hubs. This means there is a massive talent pool of people from diverse backgrounds, that those recruiting remotely can tap into, all within 1–3 time zones, and easy to travel or relocate to within the EU/EEC’.

But, these changes do not occur in a vacuum. How will all those changes shape our cities? What will working look like for the Decentralised Generation? And, above all, how will workers’ rights and social services evolve over the next ten years to envelope different employment schemes?

What will the next decade bring?

Through this report, we touch on many of these topics. Based on our overview, the changes we expect to see in the next decade are:

  • By 2030, 27% of the workforce in major European cities will have the option to work fully remote or will leave the big cities.
  • 10 regions or countries in Europe will offer extra incentives to attract remote workers over the next decade as a primary means of boosting local economies.
  • Every country in Europe will start to see Remote-First villages spring up in the next five years.
  • By 2030, more than 50% of remote workers will have more than one job and split their time between multiple companies.
  • The European Union will launch an opt-in, pan-European pension scheme over the next 10 years.
  • Remote workers will have the same rights and access to social benefits as traditional employees by 2025 across the European Union.
  • Community co-working spaces focussed on providing childcare will spring up across Europe.

2020 gave us the opportunity to study and learn more about the implications of a mass movement to remote work. The European Union, with its greater legislation integration and developed social services, could be at the forefront of remote working policies and rights

According to Laurel Farrer, CEO and Founder of Distribute Consulting, remote work benefits range ‘from strengthening diversity, to enhancing environmental sustainability, to minimizing unemployment rates, the economic impact of virtual jobs is significant’. Based on this, the opportunity that we have been presented with the sudden shift to remote work should not be lost, just entered upon with adequate precautions.

Thank you to Whereby for their partnership on this report. If you want to read more, download the full report here.


Remote Work in Europe, 2030 was originally published in dGen on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.