CENTRAL TEXAS & THE BRAZOS VALLEY — Countries like India and China used to seem half a world away. Now we can get there in a matter of hours.
But have you ever considered working for an overseas company?
In the post-pandemic economy, experts say foreign companies may come calling on you, on the rebound.
As the coronavirus pandemic infected the economy, killing jobs, those left at the office worked ever-harder to keep theirs.
"A lot of companies reduced their workforce. So I felt the need to work more in that 40 hour week too because we didn't have all the same staff that we had pre-COVID. But also I was afraid of losing my job," said Katie Selman of Waco.
So-called "near-death" experiences often bring self-examination, say experts.
Even hiring managers have noticed a "re-ordering" of priorities in workers.
"What does it seem to you that this has done to our mindset about work. I think people are being really selective of where they're working, they, they have to have incentive to work now," explained Josh Finstad, of the staffing firm Placements Unlimited
Those incentives, he says, include more flexibility than ever, a good work culture. Everybody wants good pay, and to find a place, they fit in.
In fact, Dr. Athony Klotz of Texas A&M says, an ascertainment process has begun to help businesses figure that out.
"If there's a number of services out there, polling services not researchers like myself, that are conducting a lot of surveys right now about how employees are feeling are you thinking about leaving your job. And so I think organizational leaders will soon have a lot of information about the percentages of employees who are thinking about leaving their job and I think it's going to be higher than a lot of people expect, "said the researcher into why and how people quit their jobs.
I do think we'll see that kind of phenomenon again as we come out of the pandemic," said Dr. Ray Perryman, CEO of The Perryman Group, an economics firm.
"The economy doing well could speed up the extent to which organizations have to innovate, to attract talent to their organization," said Klotz.
Perryman's answer, "As the economy was quite strong before the pandemic started. There's no reason we can't come out of it with a great deal of momentum."
And just as the economy affects workers' attitudes, so too do those attitudes impact the economy. Business leaders have long called it "a global economy"
Klotz says changes to remote work brought on by COVID will make top workers even more valuable as the local and regional job market goes global.
"So, the marketplace will decide which of the many variations of work will continue and which will fade away. Yeah, I think that's exactly right and think with remote work, companies can now recruit globally. And if an employee wants to be a remote worker they can apply for a job, wherever in the world," said the A&M professor.
But companies won't just have to pay more for the best people, they may have to up the ante in other benefits.
"There's also this assumption that 40 hour work weeks are the norm and I think there's a lot of employees right now saying, 30 hours sounds pretty good to me, 20 hours sounds pretty good to me. There's other employees that are thinking, I'm fine working, you know a lot of hours but I would like one month a year off," said Klotz.
"and go to their kid's games to be at school functions to take time off. I think that these are important things that employers are having to realize because employees have had that the last year," Finstad added.
And workers say they have no intention of giving any of that back.
"In the Tech business, they say the pandemic advanced us, in tech terms, 20 years, how many years of advance will we end up with, in the workplace? Probably not. 20 years, because you know I don't have the crystal ball to see how organizations are going to respond to this," said Klotz.
But he says they will have to respond or miss out on the people they think could bring them the most profit, people with higher expectations than before.
"I'm looking forward to having a better work-life balance. And also just enjoy being outside and the beautiful weather and getting back to normal," said Katie Selman.
For many, that so-called "normal" could still look, very different.