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Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All

Summary:
Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable.By Chip Cutter of The WSJ. Excerpts: "as the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs.""No CEO should be surprised that the early productivity gains companies witnessed as remote work took hold have peaked and leveled off, he adds, because workers left offices in March armed with laptops and a sense of

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Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable.

By Chip Cutter of The WSJ. Excerpts:

"as the work-from-home experiment stretches on, some cracks are starting to emerge. Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs."

"No CEO should be surprised that the early productivity gains companies witnessed as remote work took hold have peaked and leveled off, he adds, because workers left offices in March armed with laptops and a sense of doom.

“It was people being terrified of losing their jobs, and that fear-driven productivity is not sustainable,” Mr. Bock said."

"In San Francisco, startup Chef Robotics recently missed a key product deadline by a month, hampered by the challenges of integrating and testing software and hardware with its engineers scattered across the Bay Area. Pre-pandemic, they all collaborated in one space.

Problems that took an hour to solve in the office stretched out for a day when workers were remote"

"Teams physically building a product need to be together, Mr. Bhageria said. “There’s this thrill of being a little hacky group of people, on a shared mission, in a startup, with little money, eating pizza and ramen.”"

"It’s important to have people in a room and see body language and read signals that don’t come through a screen, says Mark Loehr, the CEO"

"One benefit of working together in person, many executives said, is the potential for spontaneous interactions. Mary Bilbrey, global chief human resources officer at real-estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., returned to her Chicago office in early June, as the company reopened its spaces. She noticed that she was soon having conversations with peers that wouldn’t have happened in a remote set up—a discussion sparked by a passing question in the hall, for instance."

"The toll of extended work-from-home arrangements is likely to affect career development, particularly for younger workers, several executives said. At Stifel Financial Corp., which employs more than 8,000 people around the world, junior employees learn how to underwrite deals or develop pitch books by sitting beside more experienced colleagues and watching them work"

"And then there’s the challenge of training employees who began work after the pandemic began and have had to work remotely from the start."

"They don’t have the same casual day-to-day opportunities to ask more experienced workers for help or advice that they would if they were working in the same office"

"New employees in marketing and analytics roles haven’t been able to quickly pick up company jargon and shorthand in meetings, leaving some of them lost."

"Without the interactions that define office life, Mr. Eichfeld worries that Discover’s culture will gradually fray"


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