Going into the office just to spend all day on Zoom? Trying to bond with coworkers over a remote happy hour where only two people talk?
There is no one-size-fits-all, but some sizes don’t fit anyone.
We’re four years after the pandemic forced us remote, and the how we work has dramatically changed.
Early on, the benefits of remote work quickly became clear, and most voices claimed it should have been the norm all along. Arguments for in-person work were fairly weak and mostly stemmed from people being unwilling or unable to adapt.
Since then, several compelling arguments for in-person work have emerged. In general, engagement, certain creative tasks, and collaboration are much better in-person. Many remote work advocates dismiss these out of hand, even as they are based on expert experience and objective evidence.
Now, a stark divide separates the remote and in-person camps, with little room for nuanced perspectives. Studies abound, supporting both sides, but the undeniable truth is that one is not objectively better than the other. Some people and companies are better suited for one or the other. It’s not one-size-fits-all.
Hybrid is not the default solution. Often times it can be the worst parts of remote and in-person.
The key lies in being intentional. It’s easier to do remote work wrong if you just try to emulate in-person work. In-person, it’s much easier to become complacent with communication and process, leading to distractions and wasted time.
As most companies are now distributed, and certain elements of remote work are universal, we can all can leverage the lessons learned during the pandemic.
Instead of binary thinking, we should take the best from both worlds and figure out what works for us and our specific companies.