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COVID-19 has upended the working culture at many businesses. Virtual meetings, restricted travel, and remote work changed how business is done. The COVID-19 experience has spawned countless articles about “the New Normal”. Now that COVID-19 is behind us, what will the work environment of the future look like?
Betsy Atkins, business executive and entrepreneur, wrote that “we have heard in the popular press and every survey that employees are fatigued, they are stressed, they have lost their boarder between personal and business time and they feel anxious and overworked. Yet, of those same employees, many express that they prefer a hybrid environment returning to work. We must inspire in a compelling way, explain how our vision of return to work is best for our corporation, for our teams, for our investors and for our employees.”
Allan Tate, executive chair of the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, said that “we have a very clear model for remote work and a clear model for office work, but a hybrid creates a problem For example, if part of the team on a video call is together in a conference room, he said they might have side discussions after the call that the others are not privy to.”
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, research affiliate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, said that “it is a huge difference applying remote work to somebody that just joined the office than to people who have been working with each other the last 20 years. Colleagues who were familiar with each other prior to the pandemic can already have memories of interacting with their co-workers, he said, which can be a different experience than with a recent hire. “We have to learn over the next five to 10 years what works and doesn’t work.”
Rana Foroohar, CNN global analyst, said that in the future that “there will be more of a blending of blue collar and white collar work. Because one of the things I think that’s going to support this geographic redistribution of wealth is the fact that we’re entering this new period of internet innovation. It’s about how businesses are using the internet. Where an area that might have had an old economy, talent, or innovation or skill set is going to be able to start now, particularly with this Biden broadband infrastructure build, to be able to transition more easily into the digital economy.”