A highlight from Whats the Future of the Office?

Knowledge@Wharton
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Weren't professor peter. Cappelli is the author of the new book. The future of the office work from home remote work and the hard choices. We all face capelli. Who has for decades studied the forces shaping and changing the workplace says the coming choices we all must make about. The future of work could be among our most important. I'm brett liz. Rod senior editor awards press. I sat down with capelli to talk about the future of the office. We talked about the working experienced during the throws of the kobe. Nineteen pandemic the complication with so-called hybrid models and how employees and employers can make the best decisions for their futures. Congratulations on the publication of your book. The future of the office says is obviously a very hot topic Much of the white collar world is facing a reckoning on what to do about this thing that you've called we call the office so to start was hoping you could share your overall message to stakeholders about what you believe is at stake for the future of the office. I don't think it's going to surprise to many people to get the sense of how big issue this is about whether we go back to the office or not you think about the value of commercial real estate. What happens if we don't need offices. And all the supporting services in the little businesses and restaurants support offices in commuting all those sorts of things matter And you know in addition to whether this might be better for employees one of the things we know just about that is that not. Everybody agrees that they want to work from home. There is the issue about whether it's actually going to work for the employers and that's not completely clear so i think part of the message of the book is that we really don't know how well things worked during the pandemics or chrome face. You know a lot of organizations said that things which is fine lot of employees said they got their own work done but closer examination is suggesting that maybe it wasn't quite so great and things didn't work quite as well and more to the point. There were a lot of things that were unique about the period of the pandemic which are not going to carry over. Afterwards you know for example the fact that most people felt a special effort to pull together and try to get things done. We were kind of keeping businesses together and keeping our jobs together is that gonna continue afterwards and the other is what happens next. Post pandemic is unlikely to look much like what happened during the pandemic right and we know a fair bit about that situation because we've studied we studied telework for quite a while that is regular businesses operating more or less as they did with some people working at home and some people working in the office and the results. Were not as nice as you might expect. People working remotely. Just don't do as well and their careers. Don't do as well either so understanding what we're getting ourselves into matters a lot. There are so many options in terms of working from home. If you do it and how much you do and how it's carried out it's important to get the ones that we pick rights to make sure we understand that decision and it's important to prepare for it because the way we choose has lots of implications for how businesses need to be managed and how the careers of people unfold. You talked about this but you can researching the workplace for for decades in the book. One of the points you highlight is how this changes so much different than than others that we've been talking about a automation for for example. Can you sort of explain that anybody who's interested in the workplace knows that there's been a flavor of the month field to a lot of the press over the last couple of decades and a lot of the things that were presented his future the new normal just you know. They never happened like coming later. Labor shortage in the early two thousands which never happened The big issues around millennials. It turns out that there's no evidence any that's even true. And you know we're going to have driverless trucks three years ago. We were preparing for the elimination of all trucking jobs. You know things that may at some point but the meantime there no big deals. The reason this one is such a big deal is. It's going to happen right. I mean this pandemic is going to lift at some point. It's dragging on longer. Of course we all thought but at some point we have the opportunity to go back to work and employers. Have to choose you know. You can't just say we will decide forever at some point they reopen and you have to either be in the office or let people stay home or find something different so this one is right on top of us and it's really going to matter in ways that are completely obvious so that's why it's a big deal and i think in this case we haven't paid enough attention to it way more time on all these previous topics and in this one staring right in the face. We haven't thought about what it means very carefully and how to choose what to do. Thanks peter so so yeah you. You mentioned the employees who have really thrived working remotely and and working for home. What's your best advice for for those employers who tried to return to an in person workplace you know. I think the variation in people's experience in working from home is. I quite remarkable right. There's some people who really liked it. Some people who didn't and a lot of that depends on your life circumstances and even those who were really grateful to be able to do. It weren't necessarily having fun so there's evidence that stress levels are up hours of work. Were up for people working from home

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