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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.

This data point from recent Accenture research is enlightening.

We want to focus on the 25% that state their reason for wanting to come into the office on some days is because they want to “collaborate with colleagues in face-to-face settings.”

We have proven years before the pandemic, that it is in fact possible to very effectively communicate and collaborate without anyone being face-to-face. This of course takes having the right technology in place and a team that has the digital literacy and fluency to communicate in digital environments.

For example being skilled at:

  1. Succinctly being able to convey ideas in the written form and with the right tone and intent.
  2. Being able to use marked up images and videos to augment or convey ideas.
  3. Knowing when to use audio messaging both synchronous and asynchronous.
  4. Being comfortable on camera and knowing when to use synchronous and asynchronous video.

We maintain with great confidence that if these individuals found themselves in a well designed digital workplace that makes communication and collaboration as effective (and sometimes more effective) than in person and they are taught the necessary digital communication skills this percentage would drop considerably.

Note: There is a misconception that working remotely equals isolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most mature location independent businesses place high value on in-person meetups. However, these meetups are usually spaced out evenly throughout the year and in some cases can be for a week at a time. These are great and very important occasions to solidify relationships.