The nature of office work is continuously evolving. Many organizations have experimented with a variety of “remote work” scenarios over the years. Each organization has had reasons to pursue its vision for the future of work. And then…. 2020 arrived. The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to re-imagine how they operate. This forced experiment has, perhaps, provided glimpses into the need for in-person work environments, and may be changing how some organizations view the future of office work.
The Future of Work: The Two Arguments
The future of office work is based on the struggle between two ideas:
- During the pandemic, remote work became a necessity for a significant portion of the workforce, with a large majority of workers satisfied with working from home for a variety of reasons. Only about one-quarter of surveyed workers desired a full-time return to the office.
- While remote work has its advantages, we believe that the office holds a vital role in the future of work. Companies recognize that the physical presence of employees contributes to a sense of belonging and strengthens organizational bonds. Additionally, in-person training is often deemed more effective for onboarding new employees and fostering skill development.
The future of work continues to unfold, as the very nature of what it means to contribute to office work evolves. Will the current satisfaction by employees of remote work remain? Will productivity levels be sustained? Will the erosion of corporate culture and reduced opportunities for collaboration and mentorship hinder the growth of those working remotely?
Some giants, such as Twitter and Facebook, have assessed their approach to office work. And assessed it again. And again. We are all in the midst of a great experiment. We believe that the future of office environments will evolve, with each organization creating a workplace culture that strikes a balance between remote and corporate office environments.
Will organizations embrace change and find ways to balance the best of both?
PRA Partner Michael P. Brush offers his views in a new PRA Whitepaper.