Reopening offices successfully will require ongoing communication, better use of technology and an understanding that culture has changed during the pandemic, writes James daSilva. “Even the fairest pro.



We shouldn’t be surprised that companies are speaking up about reopening offices and also reestablishing them as the default.

At some level, I think that’s OK. Vaccination progress is encouraging, if incomplete. Companies spend a lot of money on real estate, and they want a return on it. And while last year’s rapid shift to remote work was remarkably successful, given the circumstances, it has still been traumatic, ill-planned and produced stress and burnout across the board.

So the post-pandemic world must include offices, if only because some work really is better done on-site and in person. Many roles and functions can’t transition to remote, while other jobs are more difficult to do remotely or with limited interaction. As we’ve learned during the last year, working at home for many people means losing any distinction between work and, well, anything else.

However, pretending the pandemic never happened would also be foolish. People have tasted freedom, and they won’t give that up. Second, many organizations have decided to retain flexibility by going entirely remote or through various hybrid models. Those organizations will happily welcome workers discarded or made uncomfortable by rigid organizational structures.