Google's Hybrid Future & 3 Contrasting Viewpoints on Future of Work 🌎
We've yet another CEO share his thoughts on remote work and the future of work. Sundar Pichai said that Google will have a hybrid model wherein offices will be reconfigured & used for 'on-sites'. On sites are days when people gather in office because Pichai believes it's necessary to be in office to solve hard problems & create something new.
Now rather than share a single narrative around this, let me present 3 contradicting viewpoints around the future of work that are prominent right now.
Back in office after the pandemic
People who believe remote working has no positives and will go back to exactly how things were earlier. For ex., Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, shared his displeasure around remote work and strongly believes everyone should be in office post the pandemic.
However, a lot of companies are going to bring in permanent changes to their way of working. In effect, work flexibility will become the norm, at least in industries like tech, and you'll be deemed regressive if you ignore the trend altogether. Some concrete issues that I can see come up include employee churn, lower productivity levels (compared to revised benchmarks) etc.
Future of work is hybrid
Biggest tech companies (Facebook, Apple, Google) & their CEOs have hinted at a hybrid kind of model where either some percent of employees work remotely or everyone works remotely for a fraction of time (say 3 days a week). They align with the view that office is essential for problem solving, creating new things & discussions.
There are 2 problems I see with this approach. Firstly, most of these announcements seem very non-committal. At least at this point, there's no concrete path or goal laid down by these companies. Secondly, hybrid holds the potential to bring in the worst of both worlds. So while it may be a great transition phase, deeming it as a long-term solution can prove detrimental.
Offering the choice - Remote or In-office
This camp believes strongly that future of work shouldn't just be remote work, rather it should be the choice of work. It should be an individual choice whether someone wants to work out of their home office, work while traveling, co-working space or in office.
I myself believe in this approach but you should know that this is an ideal world scenario. A sudden shift to this working style for companies (large or small) is going to be super tough for a variety of reasons. We've to accept the fact companies like GitLab or Doist made the right choices early on and for the rest of us, it'll have to be a slow transition.