For Maria Svensson Wiklander, co-founder of the company The Remote Lab, what is interesting is not the number of WFH days. Maria Svensson Wiklander lives on a farm close to mountains and the countryside in northern Sweden, and through her work as a digital entrepreneur is used to working remotely on a regular basis.
In 2020, her work culminated with the establishment of Gomorron Östersund, an office community for remote workers with three different addresses in northern Sweden. The same year, her company The Remote Lab, which collects and disseminates knowledge about remote working, became much busier almost overnight when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have published five reports because we want to inspire by providing knowledge and research about remote working. A report that we published in October 2020 showed that only 4 per cent of the respondents in the survey wanted to go back to working full-time at the office,” she says.
Maria Svensson Wiklander is finding that many workplaces have implemented a hybrid model, where the employees’ working lives are divided between going into the office and WFH as a way of meeting their desire for greater flexibility. However, it is not something that happens by itself, she says:
“I think you need to distinguish between where you work, and what sort of work you do. If you want employees to spend some time in the office and some time working remotely, then you still need to look at the way the organisation is working in order to avoid creating an A and a B team, which is otherwise a risk,” she says.
“You have to create a remote-first or digital-first culture, and not rely too much on physical meetings as not everybody will probably be in the office simultaneously,” she says, while mentioning the fact that large international companies are already looking globally for new talent:
“The geographical location is no longer that important. Companies can be established anywhere, which is borne out by the way that large companies are recruiting. It is irrelevant to them where you are,” she says.