Redesigning the Post-Pandemic Workplace | MIT Sloan Management Review

Workforce Trends

The development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations have made “return to work” plans more of a reality. As firms think through their plans’ specifics, this article submits that they have an unprecedented opportunity to rethink and reinvent all aspects of work. One consideration includes maximizing the benefits of both remote and co-located work. Firms will need to evaluate the benefits they have experienced with remote work (e.g., shorter commutes, shorter and more focused meetings, collaboration across geographic and physical boundaries). They must weigh these benefits against the challenges (e.g., reduction in serendipitous interactions, establishing and maintaining organizational culture in a virtual setting, workers receiving less mentoring and coaching during the shift to remote work). This type of analysis can help managers determine opportunities for enabling a hybrid workplace. Firms will also need to explore the processes and practices that can evolve virtual work–such as digital tools that promote remote participants’ inclusion. Another idea for the post-pandemic workplace is to configure physical workplaces to support various purposes (e.g., brainstorming, hosting a workshop, or conducting a daily stand-up meeting). Such a tactic enables better usage of physical space depending on the purpose. Other ideas and company examples are provided.

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