By Roger Sahyoun, Chairman of the Network Communication Group
The shift to a virtual world of work presents us with both an opportunity and a fear of ambiguity.
Office life has existed for many years and we’ve got accustomed to it. Punching in, having our morning coffee at our desks while checking emails, jumping into team brainstorming sessions, cracking jokes with some colleagues, and so on… Out of all this, what’s most important is that management knew exactly how time was being managed.
With the pandemic and the radical shift to work from home, most firms had no choice but to adapt quickly. Today, with life getting back to “normal,” some companies didn’t waste another second, urging their employees to get back to the office with Bloomberg even paying a stipend of up to $75 a day to attract its workers back to its building in London. On the flip side, social media giant Pinterest paid $90 million to end a new lease obligation on office space near its headquarters in San Francisco to create a “more distributed workforce.”
The fears that come out of this new culture of work are many; most prominently, managers wouldn’t have a clear account anymore of how their employees are utilizing their time. Additionally, what would that mean for teamwork? Would it vanish? Now, putting all the fears aside, some of the opportunities that this new model opens up are very intriguing. Firms can now save up on rent, electricity, office supplies, and the likes, while giving their employees a sense of freedom in an attempt to generate high productivity and efficiency.
If we take the example of Lebanon today, with the devaluation of the local currency and the dire economic situation, it was noticed that working remotely all while liaising and interacting with other countries has played a tremendous role in keeping foreign currencies rolling in, thus creating an economic boost both to the workforce and the country as a whole.
With such new work models, many questions remain unsolved. Should we make the shift or not? Can all sectors - banking, for instance - succeed in implementing such new models? The answer remains in the future.