Is Corporate America Wrong?

It's no secret that those who see each other in person everyday form stronger bonds than those who don't. So, is this why some behavioral scientists are saying that working from home ruins the dynamic within most teams?

Over the last two years, scientists who have studied the “work from home” lifestyle predict the hybrid workforce will not last long.  Right now, many businesses rotate schedules and allow half of their employees to work from home and the other half from the office. Corporations think this will help them save on real estate, company perks, and improve personal morale. Although that seems logical, there are a couple reasons why behavioral scientists disagree.  

Thomas J. Allen, a professor of management at MIT discovered that “communication between people in an office increased exponentially the closer their desks were.”  When desks are more than 50 meters apart, the people might as well be in different buildings, states, or countries for that matter.  It’s hard to work as a team when your only communication is via zoom, email, slack etc.  When people are only seen through zoom meetings, researchers find their peers are less likely to value them.

Humans thrive on personal connections. The more we see someone face-to-face, the more likely we will call them, communicate with them through another medium, and more importantly bond with them. The risk with hybrid work is that over the long haul those who are in person will bond more strongly than those from a distance. Not to mention, there are concerns of diminished trust and the absence of belonging within the company or team.

As Jon Levy puts it, “It is hard to create a sense of community and a culture of belonging at a distance, but it’s even harder when employees have dramatically different home lives and may have never even met the rest of the team.”

So the question is, will companies choose to keep the hybrid lifestyle for their employees? Or will they get back to face-to-face interactions? You can read the full article here.

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