Remote Work Means Anyone Can Take Your Job

Now thousands of people could be competing for your role from around the world.
Published in
4 min readMay 16, 2020


Image: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

When everyone’s face is milliseconds away on a Zoom call, who cares where their butts are sitting? Remote workers could be anywhere in the world. They are, by default, outsourced.

It really doesn’t matter where you hire from anymore. When you don’t need people within a one-hour commute, you can hire from the next city over, or from around the world. Right now you’ve got the same workers spread out across different locations, but over the next few rounds of hires, those employees will change. You’ll get workers from all over the world.

That’s where the real disruption comes in. If you thought globalization was fun for manufacturing, buckle up. Remote work is about to globalize a bunch of service jobs as well.

The first generation

Let’s say you just started working remotely. Everything probably feels mostly the same, work-wise. The same office crew, just on Zoom. You guys even use the old #lunch Slack channel, sometimes even ordering from the same place. Things will go back to normal soon, right?

Your office, meanwhile, is gathering dust. After the pandemic drags through Q2 and Q3 your company lets the lease run out. You say you’ll get another office when things start to open back up. This is just temporary.

But it’s not. And normal doesn’t mean anything anymore. What you call “normal” is now history. Your office culture has started evolving, and evolution doesn’t go in reverse. Like any evolution, this happens over generations, and the first generation won’t notice anything major. They’ll just be like, “Cool, no more pants.”

But the next generation will definitely notice as remote jobs become outsourced jobs.

The next new hire

Now it’s Q4 of Pandemonia, and there’s still no vaccine. You’ve been able to commute for months, but there’s no office to commute to. Your company looked at leases for a while, but then gave up. Everyone would have to sit two meters apart, which means two times the square feet, which means two times the rent. And it ultimately doesn’t matter, since…


Writer for

Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at