I am getting more and more confused by all the articles that predict the end of the physical offices. I agree that we have learned a lot from the COVID situation. But this learning is not exclusive to companies and managers. During the time of lockdown, I had the chance to talk to a lot of people in information and knowldge worker functions – including my wife. What became clear was that the reality of the extended remote work experience didn’t meet the expectation towards it.
I genuinely believe that the three main experiences will set the stage slightly differently for the future:
- Social isolation and disconnectedness from colleagues
- The lack of work ergonomics and informal routines
- Virtual meeting fatigue combined with the discomfort of a lack of non-verbal feedback and communication
In July I will deliver a short essay and two webinars (one of them public, if you’re interested) about this. So I don’t want to dive into this much further… (suspense drum roll…}
BUT… It baffles me that even now a significant portion of authors and media outlets see only one or the other. So I couldn’t resist writing this short comment and deliver a few predicitions of my own:
My predictions for the phase after we have settled in the new normal
- Leaders will have to deliver more groundwork in people empowerment and alignment than just singing the “purpose song.”
- Asides urgency and purpose the concepts of social norms and behaviour for virtual teams will become essential new management content.
- Everyone will have to act on the difference between physical and virtual workspace more consciously to make sure that both settings work out.
- People will ask less for extended remote work and home office but will seek more balance between physical and virtual presence.