The Future of Work Debate

February 7, 2023
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The Future of Work Debate

Be it resolved, hybrid work is here to stay

For the first time in almost three years, most white collar professionals are back in the office, at least some of the time. The pandemic unleashed sweeping, societal change virtually overnight, and among the largest of those changes, was the way that we work. But now, almost three years later, we have returned to some semblance of normalcy. But hybrid and flexible work schedules have persisted. And for many managers, consultants, and economists, the cat may be out of the bag for good. These folks argue that given their newfound flexibility and improved work/life balance, workers will never return to the office five days a week. And that’s probably not such a bad thing. There is no demonstrable drop in productivity working from home. The reduction in commuting time may even increase overall worker output. And given worker’s preference for greater flexibility, hybrid work is undoubtedly the future.

But detractors argue that standard metrics of productivity are missing the big picture. Perhaps what works in the short term may have serious consequences in the long term. How can companies maintain a corporate culture without a central space? How can managers develop and foster young talent without in person interaction? And how can society as a whole progress without the impromptu creative interactions that are a hallmark of functioning office spaces? In short, hybrid work may be the present, but it is not the future.

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