#WFH “Forever”? How about #WFHybrid?

Led by the Silicon Valley tech giants,  more and more companies have already extended their timelines for remote work — with some, like Facebook and Twitter, proclaiming at least some portion of the employee rolls could “work from home forever.” The implications of all this will remake models of space and place far into the future, using digital tools for remote work (a concept explored in depth in Cognizant's “Welcome to Remotopia” report).

COVID has shown that “heads-down work” can be done anywhere (e.g., coding, writing, form-filling). It had already been happening, pre-COVID, across many roles for years, created by the maturation of cloud systems, smartphones, modern software, omnipresent Wi-Fi and high-speed networking, plus the need by employees (and employers) for work/life balance within their work lives. But customs, inertia, conservatism and “presenteeism” have kept many people stuck in their office cubicle.

By contrast, “heads-up work” is still best done face-to-face. Seamless videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom and others provide some semblance of much-needed social connection and #WFH pandemic productivity, but there is still no substitute for being “in the room” when you want to create, collaborate and close. The future balance rests on the calibration of remote/at-home and in-person/in-office hybrid approaches that deliver what makes people feel good about their work.

Technology only goes so far in supporting human bonding, and no technology can replicate the simpatico rapport and overall good vibes fostered by analog, human-to-human community. Sometimes technology can help, but it can’t do it.

No technology can replicate the simpatico rapport and overall good vibes fostered by analog, human-to-human community.