Clearly this is a topic that is moving forwards. I'm trying to focus my thoughts in this post and tie them in with some examples/storytelling.
Of course I'd like to know the outcome myself as well, but doing thinking/knowledge sharing about this topic, I also found a nice Frysian proverb to support me on this road:
Elts mei graach hearre wêr't de klokke hinget, mar net wêr't de stielen leit.
It's clear we're in a changing world when it comes to how, when and where we do our work. Knowledge workers are in a luxury position that they will be able to decide for themselves what they prefer.
I can say myself that I'm quite happy with the situation I'm in right now, which underlines the articles I've read so far:
- I'm working from my house that is 90 minutes away from the office. I have my own room in there, designed to do work, be productive and enjoy high-quality calls with my colleagues and customers from over the world.
- I feel productive here, I can easily shut the door, turn on some music and be focused.
- When I think I can go outside, it's always quiet here, I enjoy our garden and nature
- I also "miss" my colleagues and spontaneous talks/meetings, but try to facilitate that by a 'meeting free' day in the office every week. I really enjoy that day now (much different than dreading the daily commute)
- Team cohesion is definitely a challenge. It's something I want to work on though!
I've tried to describe two perspectives that I use to challenge my assumptions and also limit my thoughts/solutions to the problem. Meet Joanie and Petra!
Let's take Joanie the Product Owner for a big agency. She'll be happy to do some sports in the morning, join the daily meetings and walk her dog in the afternoon. She really hates Thursdays (it's full of meetings) but fights through it by doing a few calls on the bike, outside on her terrace or from a local coffee store.
To fight her isolation she joined a local sports club, where she also met a few more remote working people. They've made her enthusiastic about the opportunity to truly leave the city life and enjoy a quieter time on the countryside (and with that reduced rent!) – her expanding knowledge on finance and banking is hopefully paying out if she wants to change jobs / projects in the future.
Petra, a 44-year-old manager, has always been a firm believer in the traditional office setting. She values face-to-face interactions and the spontaneous collaborations that happen around the watercooler. However, her Product Owner, Joanie, is a strong advocate for remote work, often citing the flexibility and work-life balance it offers.
Global Talent: Petra realizes that by allowing remote work, she can hire the best, like Joanie, without geographical limitations.
Productivity Boost: She notices that Joanie seems more focused and productive when working from home, often delivering ahead of deadlines.
Cost Efficiency: With fewer people in the office, Petra sees a noticeable drop in overhead costs, making her budget meetings a bit more pleasant.
Team Spirit: Petra misses the days when her team would spontaneously brainstorm around a whiteboard. She worries this is affecting team cohesion.
Oversight: It's harder for Petra to gauge how Joanie and the rest of her team are doing on a day-to-day basis. She misses the 'vibe check' that comes from seeing them in person.
Security Concerns: Petra is a bit anxious about data security. She knows Joanie is responsible, but the risk of a data breach keeps her up at night.
I've read the following articles on the topic:
When reading the articles linked below, the general consensus was, according to chatGPT;
The common thread across these articles is the tension between employee preferences for remote or hybrid work and executive or company policies pushing for a return to the office. While some execs argue that in-office work boosts productivity, the articles generally suggest that remote work is either equally productive or preferred by employees for its flexibility and work-life balance. The notion that remote work is here to stay, despite varying opinions, also resonates across the articles.
I don't know where this is going, I do know pure 'office work' is gone, off the table. Even though big tech wants this back, the employees won't – maybe the truly hardcore (sorry that's not me), but every company (culture) will want to organise and structure WFH/remote work differently.