The celebrations of the forced work-from-home experiments—a natural reaction amidst a global crisis—may be premature. Companies’ experience with deploying entire workforces remotely may be a better test of technology platforms than work-from-home business models.

Over time, deploying workforces from home will face many stress tests, such as:

  • How do you transmit company culture remotely?
  • What does ad hoc collaboration look like in a remote work environment?
  • How does mentorship work if your mentee is not present?
  • How will compliance be monitored?
  • Can sales productivity be maintained if sales are remote?
  • How do you manage a hybrid operation—some employees at the office, some at home?
  • How does geography impact remote work? For example, does anyone move to New York City to work from his or her apartment?
  • Does working from home really balance life and work if work is never separated from home life?

Working from home is one in a long line of office experiments. Every one of them aims for competitive advantage and expense reduction—but competitive advantage beats cost cutting every time. Whether working from home can deliver competitive advantage is an open question. However, nothing good will come from putting employees in a situation where they feel diminished, disconnected or distracted.

The Office of the Future


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