– Evidence suggests that increased remote work is here to stay, but a large-scale shift towards a “remote first” mindset looks unlikely, says Senior Research Fellow Linda Randall from Nordregio. She is the lead author of Nordic Knowledge Overview on remote work published this week.
The mindset matters when considering the effects of remote work for different places; influencing the extent to which workers can distance themselves from their workplaces. At the same time, we do see some evidence of spatial changes. The number of daily commuters is still well below pre-pandemic levels and migration patterns suggest increased attractiveness of outer urban municipalities, smaller cities, and rural areas within commuting distance of larger cities.
From a planning perspective, a range of interesting questions emerges regarding the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of increased remote work.
– Most workers do not have the possibility to work remotely and, even for those who do, the advantages and disadvantages will differ between groups. An increasing tendency to split one’s time between two or more municipalities calls into question existing frameworks around taxation and service provision, Randall continues.
While remote work may reduce the need for travel, more knowledge is needed about the indirect impacts before assuming favourable environmental outcomes overall. The Nordic knowledge overview was the first part of the project and now you have a chance to get involved and be part of our study’s next part:
How is increased remote work effecting your municipality or region? Let us know here (you can answer in English or any Nordic language): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/planningandremotework
This report is the first outcome of the project Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024. The project is part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning.