I recently visited a life sciences company known for its clinical and commercial successes. Impressed by the facilities and the lively energy around me, I asked my host about the company’s work location policies. Employees were asked to report to the office three days a week, days selected by the team, not senior management.
Flexible workspaces accommodated the varying needs of different teams and tasks, and free breakfast was available in a spacious, light-filled cafeteria. “People want to be here,” the executive explained. Employees showed up more, not less, than specified by policy. Looking around, it was easy to understand why he would want to be in this beautiful building, with its motivated and intelligent professionals eager to reduce patient suffering.
This company is a glimpse into a trend that will become common in 2024: Once there are enough people in the office, most will want to be there too. FOMO will replace “you can’t make me.” The push to return to the office (RTO) will be replaced by a pull.
Research and popular media on remote work over the past three years have identified obvious benefits (giving up travel) and drawbacks (loss of mentorship or innovation) of working from home.
As such, it was clear that tackling the return to the office would require creative solutions and thoughtful experiments. However, RTO policies have generally been formulated as mandates or, worse, as rigid one-size-fits-all plans. The result has been frustration and resistance. For example, when Amazon CEO Andy Jassy recently announced an RTO policy, workers rallied in protest.
However, in 2024, as a growing number of people become aware of some of the pleasures After returning to the office, the simple narratives of us versus them, employees versus bosses, young versus old will dissipate. The future of work, if it is to be effective in producing the products and services that companies hope to offer their customers, will have to be co-created. Many factors will drive the creative process, starting with the nature of the work itself. In particular, some jobs can be done anywhere, alone, without harming productivity or quality (writing an article); Other jobs can only be done together and in person (care for hospitalized patients). Somewhere in the middle lies a vast landscape of work, the quality of which is determined by the effectiveness changing settings of people and skills come together to offer products and services.
For example, investigation A study of employee proximity conducted at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that sitting near high-level colleagues led young engineers to learn more and be less likely to leave their jobs, an effect that was particularly pronounced for women and younger employees. Differences in types of work may help explain Statistics estimating that 12 percent of full-time employees work from home; 60 percent are fully in-person and 28 percent are hybrid. Although the figures vary greatly depending on the sources (for example, a McKinsey One study estimated that 58 percent can work at home at least one day a week; They surely indicate that there is a work in progress.