The Future of Work in America Is in the Office: Opinion

By Michael R. Strain | June 25, 2020

  • June 25, 2020 at 3:53 pm
    Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU says:
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    Giving employees the ability to telecommute is invaluable, but so too is having a workplace where team members meet regularly to get to know each other and–most importantly–LEARN from each other in ways you can’t simply from online transactions.

    It’s about organizational flexibility. Give your staff the ability to come together and separate as needed.

  • June 25, 2020 at 6:41 pm
    Hector Projector says:
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    Hmmm, learn from each other in ways you can’t from online transactions. I need an example, because we can see and hear each other online. That only leaves smelling, tasting, and touching. I’d rather Zoom.

    • July 2, 2020 at 3:23 pm
      Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU says:
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      Don’t get me wrong; I work from home and I love it. But being in a common location allows people to observe how effective people operate, and to learn from those observations. The right blaace is the ability to work from home a few days a week and join your colleagues during the others.

  • June 25, 2020 at 7:03 pm
    Sue says:
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    You can’t check like or dislike

    • June 28, 2020 at 12:18 pm
      Lisa Whalen says:
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      It’s fixed now. Sorry about that!

  • June 25, 2020 at 7:41 pm
    Bryan A says:
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    Great read – it touches on points most don’t consider. You will get Simpletons come here and say something like I’m just as effective at home, or what can I do in the office that I can’t do at home. If they have to ask – they really don’t know (nor did they read what you wrote).

    Being 30 years into my career and having experience working with people for years I never met. After meeting them the relationship and engagement flourished. Learning office politics, having easy access to someone (can I sit with you during lunch), being able to read body language, approaching someone in an informal way (not being recorded), understanding the human side of people, and numerous other items make the office environment much, much more productive in totality. Your article reminds the reader to consider these items when having to offer up an opinion on the future state of working.

    Thanks for your article.

  • June 26, 2020 at 9:24 am
    CL PM says:
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    100% agree with the author. Working remotely is good, or even better, for some roles like customer service but it is not better for others. There will be a mix of working remote or in the office and companies will need to find the balance. Some people at the start of their careers may think remote is the way to go, but they’ve yet to experience the career advancing opportunities you get from interacting with people face to face in large organizations. At least three of my promotions over the years came from an executive getting to know me from interaction in the office. As soon as it is safe to go back in the office, I’m there.

  • June 26, 2020 at 5:09 pm
    MGO says:
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    I can only speak for myself but since working from home, my morale has elevated, my burnout has been greatly reduced, and my productivity is greatly enhanced. I will admit, I have a difficult commute that has me out of the house for roughly 12 hours and I don’t think I was really considering how much that was contributing to my burnout until the onus of that was removed. I’m sleeping better. I stress less. I get more done overall. I think, ideally, especially with school-aged kids at home, having the flexibility to spend part of the week in the office and part at home is better for your workforce. At least, it has been at our firm where work from home was HIGHLY discouraged by some managers (but not others) and met with punishment in some cases, despite not having a clear policy prohibiting it. It’s very likely that our school districts where I live will employ a blended learning structure when school starts up again that will include some days at school and some days e-learning from home on an alternating schedule. If this is the case, companies will have to consider keeping work from home flexibility for their employees if they also want to both retain and attract top talent. I mean, my son is 9. He can’t be home alone on e-learning days. My husband is an essential worker. I’m the one in the family who can easily keep workflow at a maximum while working at home. And I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I’ll be curious to see what employee retention and recruiting looks like in a post-covid environment for those companies who don’t maintain the flexibility.

    • June 28, 2020 at 4:15 pm
      Buckle Up says:
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      MGO – I echo your sentiments. Coivd-19 has been a blessing in disguise for me and many of my team members. There was one co-worker in particular who was against working from home, but three months later she has completely reversed her opinion. She loves working from home for many of the reasons you stated.

      Before Covid, I had a long commute and I had hit a plateau in my current job. I was burnt out! Now that I am home, eliminating the 3-4 hour daily commute has significantly improved my quality of life. I am getting more sleep so I feel well rested which has lowered my stress, improved my attitude and moral. I am more productive and responsive to the needs of our clients. The financial impact has been positive…less gas, less insurance and less maintenance. I was leasing two cars and I turned in one lease when it was due because we are not driving as much. I eliminated an extra car payment!

      And let’s face it…there is BS that goes on in the office and it’s nice to be away from the drama. Our co-workers are like our extended family and we deal with the good, the bad and the ugly. We miss the good, but we sure as hell don’t miss the bad and the ugly.

      Peace out!

  • June 28, 2020 at 4:29 pm
    Buckle Up says:
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    Sure the article brings up some good points, but working from home will become the new norm. I think what we will see more of are hybrid schedules where employees will work some days at the office and some days at home.

    At our organization, our leadership is empowering us to make the decision on how we want to work going forward. We recently took a survey and I heard 90%-95% of our employees want to continue working from home indefinitely. This response echos the direction our leadership is wants to go. Some colleagues want to return to the office and that’s fine…management is working on establishing protocols for these employees. Other colleagues do want the option to work onsite to handle some administrative tasks (printing, picking up mail, ect.) and that will require an approval from management. We are not allowed to drop into the office anytime we want.

    It will be interesting to see what happens over the next year or two. I also want to know what they impact remote work has on retention, morale and productivity.

    Peace out!



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