Does remote work work?
Remote work has its place, but it doesn’t replace the need for an office.
If I was to guess, I’d suggest companies like Twitter, who are fully committing to remote work, will pay a price.
Breakthrough ideas, innovations, new perspective on problems are more difficult to achieve in isolated environments. Nothing is as dynamic as teamwork. Spontaneous combustion occurs easiest when energy is concentrated in a shared physical space.
Productive remote work takes experience, but even the most senior workers benefit from interaction, not isolation.
My work relies heavily on inspiration. The breakthrough award-winning work I’ve done has all emerged from a highly-charged crucible of collaboration in a shared physical space.
Not to say there cannot be Zoom moments. Just this week I had breakthrough sessions remotely, but that was with skilled, experienced artists, trained in self-discipline and focus.
It’s the casual, unplanned encounters that often present new thinking. That comes from a major tool in the creative tool set— changing perspective.
Going for a walk and running into a colleague. Having an unplanned conversation. Over-hearing a conversation that sparks an idea.
Remote environments make unplanned moments less likely. In highly competitive markets, companies who go fully remote can lose an often overlooked part of their productivity—water cooler culture.
The unproductive moments often lead to the most productive results. Ideas nurtured in isolation are often less relevant than those found in the shared company of others. Community can be the key to relevance.