Luke Johnson from the Sunday Times captured my thoughts exactly with this piece. At a time when the news only seems to get worse with the Tiers and travel bans for UK residents the sentiment of this is spot on post our vaccine rollout.
As I talk to staff in APAC and EMEA there is in some quarters a reluctance to get back to the office. Some people have a sense of "this works fine" but what's missing is the intangible aspects of the world of work. The jokes, the personal interest in people and general enjoyment of the hubbub of the office. But lay on top of that the missing collaboration, spontaneity and inspiration of colleagues and the gap starts to widen.
For people earlier in their careers this is having a devastating impact. The networking that's done with "big bosses" in the kitchen or down the pub is gone, Zoom confines people to set groups and the agendas typically eat up the whole slot.
Think of onboarding new employees and the issues grow again. Obviously thousands of people have joined a new company this year but how do they develop a true understanding of the culture of the business - not impossible but very hard.
I got a new boss 4 months ago, we've never met other than online and developing that relationship is hard, we talk business, get along fine but somethings missing and it will be missing until we spend time in the same room, have dinner or travel together.
For now WFH is still the deal for many people but when we can get to our offices I for one will be first in the queue and dare I say it I will be looking forward to the commute!
I have one piece of advice for ambitious twentysomethings wanting to advance their careers in 2021: Be in the room. Unfortunately, for many so-called digital natives, conducting their entire life online feels natural. So working from home may appear to be a favourable development. But Zoom, Teams, FaceTime and other video software are poor substitutes for face-to-face communications. Hence, those who turn up in person will gain the competitive advantage — whether they are interviewing for a job, pitching to raise investment, selling a new product or presenting their plans to colleagues.