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Why do CEOs want to go back to the office?

“The vast majority of us can’t wait until we can be back in the office.”
— Tim Cook, CEO of Apple at the Atlantic Festival 

 

57% of knowledge workers would be interested in working from home more frequently going forward based on their COVID 19 WFH experience.
ESG

 

Are CEOs like Tim Cook out of sync with their employees?  Not necessarily.

Despite that a majority of employee's preference to work from home more frequently and the potential cost savings for employers, Tim Cook is not alone, companies are reporting struggles adapting to remote work.

In the case of Apple, they have built a unique workforce interaction model focused on collaboration and innovation.  Apple has even designed its unique office space around this model.  The interaction model, an important component of corporate culture, set Apple apart in its go-to-market strategy among its competitors, including Samsung who has similar technology expertise.

Six months into the pandemic, we have learned a lot about remote work.  The practice is particularly well-suited to people who can work independently without distraction or expectation of just showing up to the office.  Organizations have also adapted well to redesigning some roles and workflows suitable for "divide and conquer."  For example, those of us in software development are familiar with the Git Workflows that have been used for software developers that don't often speak with each other — even when face-to-face!  Still, outside of software development, many of us have been struggling to perpetuate our old way of working even further, resulting in being in Zoom fatigue and significant off-hours time in email and Slack just to "stay afloat."

Remote work, particularly as it pertains to collaboration and innovation, forces new interaction models.  GitLab, which runs over 1,300 employees in an all-remote environment has spent great effort to document their corporate workforce interaction model all in one place. Their practices are an optimistic peak into where all of our companies may be headed in response to a new set of lasting work norms. GitLab has a years-long head start at defining successful remote work practices over the rest of us, but even they mostly rely on manual adoption tactics that can be time consuming and hard to scale. Each function must determine how to do their specific work within these stated interaction models, and effect those behaviors among a constantly growing and changing population of coworkers.

At Punch, we believe successful companies of the future will learn to design and adopt their own new interaction models for collaborative work and innovation.  Getting there won't happen overnight.  Look for our future blog articles about how we can help you successfully adopt new workforce interaction models.