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Biggest risks in return to offices: Harvard remote work guru

Source | | Eric Rosenbaum

  • Hybrid work will be the new norm for many companies and research on telecommuting pioneers from before the Covid-19 era, across many big companies and geographies including the U.S., China and India, shows how it can be productive.
  • Harvard Business School professor Raj Choudhury says employees and teams should be empowered to make decisions on WFH and office schedules, not CEOs or individuals alone.
  • Employee productivity data, access to talent, keeping women in the labor force, and the climate benefits of not commuting are all reasons for employers to embrace a new work model rather than revert to traditional office-centric culture.

Like it or not, more employees are going back to work. With roughly 130 million Americans now having received at least one vaccine shot as of Sunday — about half of U.S. adults — the forced Covid-19 work-from-home experiment is coming nearer to an end. What results on the other side of it, though — a return to a traditional office-first model, hybrid employment, or permanent WFH — will depend on an employer’s specific cost-benefit analysis of factors including company culture, and talent and productivity to be gained or lost.

Already, major employers across sectors of the economy are choosing distinctly different paths forward.

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