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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.

From the 2021 Microsoft Work Trends Index:

From my experience, this is driven primarily by a terrible remote work experience driven primarily by being forced into this way of working at short notice. With very little time to prepare.

It’s been a painful experience. It’s like suddenly giving a life-long Windows user a Mac and telling them to “get to work” without giving them any time to learn how the new operating system works.

Most people in a scenario like this will say: “This is just too difficult! Give me back my Windows machine! I can’t work like this!”

In many cases this is exactly what has happened with forced remote working. I can almost guarantee that a large portion of the 67% if exposed to a well designed digital workplace, that enables seamless communication and collaboration and are helped to acquire the virtual work skills (aka Digital Literacy & Fluency) to work in these environments, will not feel as strong a need to be back in-person because they would have learnt to master the new “operating system.”

It’s critical to understand remote working is not new. It has been very successfully engaged in for decades prior to this. The best practices just need to be learnt and applied.