During the height of the pandemic, organizations were struggling to adjust to a completely different way of working together. But the pandemic merely highlighted a slew of longstanding questions about collaboration in the workplace. In this presentation I distinguish among a variety of ways of working together, most of which fall short of collaboration, and as a result are more likely to be embraced.
Organizations, and their leaders, are struggling in the years after the pandemic to define their return-to-office playbook. What is the right narrative that will bring people back into the office? What are the benefits of working in a collocated space that outweigh the costs of the commute and loss of flexibility in the work day? In our readout to leadership, in early 2023, the FoW taskforce offered several answers to those questions, including the value of simply running into each other.
One of the workplace activities we rarely notice—bumping into people in the hall on our way to and from other places—turns out to be an unsung hero of innovation. As we find ourselves coming back to the office, many of us are rediscovering the delightful serendipity of this seemingly insignificant interaction. But don’t be fooled by its apparent lack of importance. Random collisions are anything but minor players in driving innovation across the enterprise. They are one of several antidotes to address remote-only workplaces (which, if left unattended devolve into siloed organizations). I was reminded of their importance in a…
COVID and the global pandemic’s impact on working norms continue to raise questions about the nature of work and the “new normal.” How much time should employees be “in the office?” What is the impact of a fully remote workforce on an organization’s productivity, innovation and culture? By shifting work to our homes, how do organizations address employee safety, equity, access and privilege? These are just some of the questions athenahealth (the second largest electronic health records company in the US) raised in its “Future of Work” strategic initiative.