What – You’re Never Going Back to the Office?

Posted 4 October 2021 / 1 minute read time

After not working in an office for over 20 years, the idea of distributed work feels normal to me. And while I—dedicated distributed worker that I am—can get my work done pretty effectively without going to the office, I still miss my periodic trips to work with colleagues at our headquarters or to meet with clients in one of our local showrooms. It feels like something is missing.

Before March 2020, distributed work was the elephant in the room—ok, one of the elephants— that no one wanted to talk about. It was happening, but very few organizations wanted to admit it. Then comes March 2020 and that elephant started to stampede, forcing organizations to act fast or get trampled. Literally overnight, everyone started to do what many thought couldn’t be done—work from home. And it worked well for the most part, at least for the short term.

So now what? The elephant has calmed down a bit and returning to the office is an option again. What will companies do? We are already starting to see signs of some extremes – companies that ‘snap back’ to where they were and have everyone return to the office. And the other extreme, where some have determine that, simple enough,– everyone keeps working from home full-time.

Spoiler alert – neither of those approaches will be successful for most companies.

A hybrid model – where employees are given both schedule and location flexibility to complete their work – will prove to be the most effective.

And experience shows that when organizations understand, address, and integrate the People, Technology and Space factors associated with distributed work, a modestly tailored, highly effective distributed work program can be implemented.

There’s never been one cookie-cutter approach for making this work. Our Workplace Advisory team’s best successes come when we’re able to help organizations understand distributed work and define and implement a program appropriate for their unique culture, people, and work processes. Our updated Distributed Work white paper outlines our approach, defining the requirements and parameters of an effective distributed work program, and detailing the specific People, Technology and Space factors that need to be considered.

And with a bit of help, we’ll finally be able to see that elephant for what it is—a marvelous creature to behold!

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