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These times are no proof of concept for working remotely

DigitalThought
These times are no proof of concept for working remotely
By Janosch Troehler • Issue #12 • View online

Hi {{first_name}}, who would have thought that a virus is turning out to be the biggest driver of digitization and decentralized working environments?
The coronavirus uncovered many issues: Schools were not prepared at all, businesses with a that put shareholder value above all are struggling, and the lack of digital infrastructure in Switzerland’s public administration is staggering.
However, I’m concerned about the debate around remote work. Although the home office policies were ramped up quickly by enterprises all around the globe, they’re not representative of the transformation of our working environment. Let me explain why.
My home office.
My home office.
The advantages of working from home have been confirmed over and over again. The employees are more productive, an observation I made about myself in the last three weeks while in the home office. Also, a team member confirmed that she felt more obliged to be productive than usual. She claims it’s because working from home gives her more responsibility in managing her day.
However, the virus didn’t only push companies towards remote work, but governments imposed strict rules on social distancing and locked down their countries. We’re encouraged to stay home, and social gatherings are prohibited.
This is no proof of concept
These precautions are undeniably essential to mitigate the risks of this pandemic. However, they might also steer the discussion on the future of work in a less fortunate direction. We don’t know for how long these rules are enforced. The impacts on psychological health are potentially enormous.
I’m considering myself to be comfortable with being alone. Especially after an intense day in the packed newsroom, I enjoy the calm and silence of my apartment. Today, I find myself longing for company. 
We, humans, remain social animals. And meaningful human connections require a physical component. That’s how we form trust among each other.
The recent crisis is not an example of how working from home might look like in the future. Of course, we should take this opportunity to learn individually and in our teams, which opportunities and challenges this change is bringing. But it is still an extraordinary situation that should not be taken as proof of concept.
Let me know your thoughts
So that’s my argument. Let me know what you think about the current situation and remote work by hitting reply. Or message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.
In the meantime, stay healthy and stay inside.
Best, Janosch
P.S. Konrad Weber put together a useful list of tips and tools for remote work. Check it out here:
Home office during Coronavirus: tips and tools (a continuously updated list)
P.P.S. And Simon Sinek’s team is working the entire time remotely. They shared a video on their “Huddle” – a video-call dedicated to staying connected on an emotional level:
How Remote Teams Can Connect Meaningfully
How Remote Teams Can Connect Meaningfully
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Janosch Troehler

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