One of my top choice writers, Vaclav Smil, has this riff he utilizes in some books. He tells you that a youthful lady wakes up and drinks a mug of coffee sometime before taking a tram to work. When she enters the office, she takes a lift to the tenth floor and stops to get a Coca-Cola from the distributing machine on the way to her part. The plot twist is that the circumstance he’s describing takes within the 1880s, not in the advanced time.
At the time I first heard his riff several years ago, I was shocked by how the scene Smil described rang a bell. But then I read it for the second time during the pandemic, it felt for the first time as if he was describing the past (although not the part about drinking a Coke in the middle of the workday!
The pandemic changed the work in virtually every industry, but office employees were in a great situation to take benefits of digital devices. The setting Smil describes where you commute somewhere every day and work from a desk in an office – just seems like a relic of the past, even though it was normal for more than 100 years.
One of my predictions in The Road Ahead was that the digits world would make more selections about where to live and lead to many people moving farther out of cities. It seemed as if this wasn’t going to happen until the pandemic spread. Now I am doubling down on that prediction.
think a lot of people will be shocked by the pace of innovation over the next decade now that the software industry has concentrated on the remote working plot. Many of the advantages of working in the same real space – like running into people at the water cooler – can be re-created with the right user interfaces
The pandemic has forced organizations to reanalyze productivity in the department. The limitations between once discrete areas – brainstorming, team meetings, quick conversations in the hallway – are collapsing. The frame that we thought was essential to office culture has begun to evolve, and the changes will only strengthen in the years to come as businesses and employees settle into new permanent ways of working
presence can not show the experience of an in-person meeting but enhance it: Picture a meeting where engineers at a car factory who live on three different continents pull apart a 3D model of a new vehicle’s engine to make development.