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I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

In this LinkedIn surgery the top reason given as to why individuals want to return to a physical office is wanting to collaborate in-person.

Why return to the workplace? Our top reasons defy the usual 9-to-5 norms

This is proof that most people have been working in badly designed digital workplaces and lack the necessary digital literacy and fluency to communicate and collaborate using technology.

“How can you say that!?” you ask. Well because there are many, very succesful businesses, employing 1,000’s of people, that have been completely office-less and distributed for decades prior to the pandemic.

If they can communicate and collaborate effectively remotely why can’t everyone?

I can absolutely guarantee you this, if the 63% wanting to be back in-person to collaborate were exposed to a well designed digital workplace, which seamlessly removed the feeling of being separate or isolated by distance, and were provided with the skills to be as effective at communicating and collaborating online as in-person, then this reason to be back in-person would no longer exist.

Reason No. 2, “Socializing with colleagues and clients,” is something completely different.

In a well designed digital workplace it is 100% possible to be apart for 49 weeks of the year and together in-person for 3 without losing any efficiency, productivity and most importantly human connection and team cohesion.

Fully distributed office-less organizations place a high priority on the above which is why so much time and money is spent on facilitating in-person meetups throughout the year.

The forced, unplanned and at short notice, remote working has produced a plethora of issues which would not exist had the transition to working from anywhere been maticolously planned and executed as it should be if moving from a traditional office to being location independent.

Those organizations that were forced into this and now want to embrace the freedom and flexibility of work-from-anywhere, long term, will have to hit the pause button and solve the challenges that were experienced by unplanned remote working.

If they don’t it will result in having to all be back in a physical office again.