Future Friday: Will trends cancel each other out?

In an ever-increasing world of teleworkers, value can be found in face-to-face collaboration.

We have all read that there is an ever-increasing number of teleworkers, those workers not resident in an office, rather working from home primarily. My wife is just such a worker. She has just returned, however, from a “summit” meeting of all of the other teleworkers in the company. She enjoyed it. She said that it was nice to actually sit face-to-face with other workers who had previously just been a voice. Discussing issues and problems became a bit more personal in this kind of environment.

IRL collaboration

Writer Krista Gray, in an article in Brit + Co, wrote about five workplace trends that seem to be making employees happier workers. One such trend was in real life collaboration, that is the opportunity to see and interact with fellow workers face to face. She had spoken to Jonathan Webb, “vice president of workplace strategy at KI, which designs furniture for offices, hospitals, classrooms, and the like, to learn about the company’s research on the topic and his predictions for upcoming office trends.” Webb told Gray

“Our research also found that 80 percent of tech firms (which are the companies inspiring workplace trends nationwide) actually prioritize face-to-face interaction. Even more, the majority of their office space (60 percent) is used for collaborative areas instead of individual workstations.”

Of course, not all collaboration has to be face-to-face as I discuss here. Webb has a vested interest in saying how important it is to have face-to-face, he works for an office design firm. But as the experience of my wife demonstrates, there is some value in putting remote workers in a face-to-face meeting on a periodic basis. Trends in the workplace don’t have to counteract each other.

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