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Yes, for the most part.
What held us back before were feelings like the 'not invented here' syndrome, not having a compelling reason to change and maybe the easy way of procrastination in office. From an employers view lack of trust.
Now most people experience that it works, it even has benefits (no commuting time, closer contact to family, etc), so the hurdle will be lower. In Germany even doctors increasingly use tele-medicine, bringing top specialist to cases, not the other way around.
For sure f2f is still needed, but it can be focused on it's purpose of building trust.
Also, now we will develop new ways of remote work, we will observe VR / AR which will give us experiences not possible thru video/audio calls. Bandwidth does not seem to be a problem, Europe reduced Netflix bandwidth to ensure dialogue bandwidth, we already have a padding included (no pun intended, just teasing).
In IBM Germany, 15 years ago, we already had a ratio 1:12 for office space:employees. Saved a hell of office space and infrastructure and also promoted the paperless documentation. All colleagues enjoyed it, like I did. Be agile.
Some (many) years ago we had individual offices so that we could concentrate on our assignments, have some privacy, etc. From there we went to open concept to encourage collaboration, integration, synergy, team building, etc. Now people are arguing for the effectiveness not only individual offices but but remote work stations. Technology accounts for some of that but I believe it to be a fad. It suits some jobs, some people some of the time but it will not become the industry standard.
Our generation is moving in this direction. The present scene created by pandemic has speedup this process too. The available interfaces still don't facilitate the level of interaction, as in-person F2F does. I believe we are very close to a point, where remote interface will become normal.
After the COVID-19 outbreak I would say that a lot of people will be running back to the office and wont bring up remote working any time soon.
Peoples daily routine and way of life has been disrupted and for a temporary period they maybe happier because of the novelty factor and not having to endure the daily commute.
But after a few more weeks of this new routine you will start to get a sense of peoples boredom and missing the general banter, atmosphere and goings on with working amongsts people in an office environment.
The drinks after work, staying late, work lunches and other aspects of the social environment of work will be the first thing back on the agenda for most people.
Long live the evolution :-)
There is too much fear based management here in the US. Remote work challenges the power structure in the office. If the manager can't see you working, then you aren't working at all. I doubt it will remain as a policy.
But, if a company continues to say they are looking to increase their sustainable business practices they need to seriously consider work from home policies.
One of the issues of working from home is the increased difficulty of separating work and personal life. Some have the ability to switch from one to the other - 8 hours work, 16 hours personal. But for many of us its a mishmash of 24 hours. The office is always there, the personal life is always there. Its disturbing not only to the working person but also everyone else in the household including the dog. I tried it, didn't like it, ended up renting desk space down the street in a commercial complex.
I would even assume that a remote interaction could be more effective than a f2f since it can focus on the topic, if well prepared, and new tools (translation, text, chat, VR) may make it more efficient.
Time will tell, soon.
I doubt the old western paradigm of work-life balance enabled by 9-5 will apply in the future. Volkswagen disabled office emails after working hours, but there is still whatsapp etc.
If you are passionate and in a state of flow, time is no limit.
If your team mates are friends, replies are immediate.
If your brain circuits come up with a solution Saturday night, you write it down.
Discipline and structure helps, agility and passion breaks it.
Facts are countering that impression of bosses that they are in control. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018, the average US worker clocks 8,8 hours but works effectively 3 hours.
Other countries may be slightly better, but it is a general problem for work in office, which I have also seen in Japan (where government had to issue an explicit order to work remotely).
Also, the way how work is assigned plays a role. If it is task-driven it indeed requires frequent control, if it is purpose and results driven, you can delegate more freely and let them run. This concept is called in military 'mission type tactic' (Auftragstaktik) and was introduced to warfare in 1866 by General von Moltke, with great results.
My hypothesis is that remote work is more effective, driven by meeting schedules and result handovers as well as the need for management to abandon their authority based leadership style for some more trustful means.
Isn't this part of scaling agile too?
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