According to a survey from researchers at MIT, one-third of the workforce has moved to remote working positions, resulting in around half of American workers working from home between February and May 2020.
This move has led many analysts to proclaim that the office is dead and the future of work is strictly remote. However, it is clear that this is not a one-size-fits-all approach and realistically depends on the occupation.
The US has seen a slow return to the office due to the little control over the pandemic in many areas, but in countries where it is better managed, there are higher rates of return. In fact, a survey from Morgan Stanley saw 83% of French and 76% of Italian office staff have already returned to their workspaces.
Even more, leaders continue to worry about the impact remote working can have on productivity. Although research has indicated that working from home can improve productivity, the difference at the moment is the ability to choose this work arrangement, and being forced into it due to a pandemic.
Another problem that remote workers have run into is the lack of connection with their colleagues. Face-to-face interactions are key to building networks and advancing careers, which can create a roadblock for women who fear of being bumped onto the “mommy track.”
Overall, it is clear that while remote working does carry its own benefits, moving to a strictly distributed workforce would not be in the best interest of employers or employees. Instead, offering hybrid work arrangements would provide the most accommodating solution.