During 2020 knowledge workers worldwide had to reassess what they regard as an office. The world was thrust into a pandemic, and those of us fortunate enough to keep working were faced with a new reality.
Individuals and organizations everywhere were scurrying to figure out how to work from home. Companies reorganized and invested in enabling remote work - everyone pulled together - we did this out of necessity.
And we knew then and there that things changed forever.
Over a year has passed, and we are now brushing up against redefining the office and work once more. This time, we are not driven by fear; we are driven by hope. The proposition to forget this whole ordeal, erase everything we have learnt and go back to the way things were is tempting. But we can't; we shouldn't.
We have changed now and forever.
This time, it's not because we have to...
...it's because we want to. As the option to return to co-located work in offices is slowly becoming available again, remote working is no longer necessary. We now have an opportunity to evaluate whether it is something that can be useful to us.
Remote work has created a new sense of freedom for knowledge workers: one that promotes creativity, productivity and wellbeing.
With all the investments that we've made in infrastructure, tools and working habits, can we continue drawing benefits from enabling remote work with no further costs?
Or can we even further increase the payout from remote work?
As home becomes anywhere...
... we are moving into a far more exciting paradigm. It's work from anywhere that will turn our investments in remote work into competitive capabilities.
Through this one investment, we have expanded the concept of the functional office to include almost all parts of the world. As a result, we've added a new sense of freedom to our workforce that enables them to be where they do their best work.
Depending on the type of work, our role, other stakeholders and a thousand different factors - the answer might be at home, a conference room, a coffee shop or a castle in France.
But work from anywhere is far from the death rattle of the office - maybe the office in a classical sense but not the office as a place of co-located work. To truly reap the benefits of work from anywhere, we need to ask ourselves and our team;
Where do we need to be right now...
...to make this work great?
Depending on what work you are doing and what the people that matter think is great, anywhere can take on different forms.
It's not about remote vs co-located; it's about remote and co
-located. It's about exercising our freedom to unleash the potential of our work.
Where do you do your most creative work, important work, efficient work, focused work, collaborative work?
Our best work is the work that moves the team forward, consuming the least amount of resources. Therefore, when we add the dimension of anywhere to our working agreement - we also commit to make anywhere accommodate our work, not our individual preference.
It was never about "either-or"...
...it has always been about "and". It's not about taking a side in the debate whether the ways of old or new are better but to embrace the future with what we have and what we know. We get hung up on whether working from home (or any other place) is better or worse than working from a co-located office, in the same way as we use to debate private office over open floor plans. Working from anywhere is the next evolution of the modern office, and the organizations that learn how to use remote and co-located work to their advantage will come out on top.