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Remote Work Won’t Kill Corporate Culture

Just ask Meucci, Gray, and Belleed

As the pandemic eases here in the United States, there’s a lot of discussion about what the new workplace will look like. 
100% back to office?  100% remote?  Some hybrid model?
As part of that discussion, you’ll often hear people lament how virtual work, Zoom meetings, remote offices, etc. will kill corporate culture.
How will we build a culture if we can’t be together?  Right?

Let’s go back to the late 1800s.  Whether you credit Antonio Meucci, Elisha Gray, or Alexander Graham Bell with the invention of the telephone, it’s safe to say its invention had a profound impact on people, business, and society.
And workplace culture.

Fast forward to today, or more precisely late 2019, just before the pandemic.
When you called someone did you think, “How impersonal is this?  I should walk over / drive over / fly over, and meet with them in person instead”?
Likely not.  You probably didn’t give it a second thought when you called them.

For those younger readers, you’re probably saying, “Who calls anymore?”
Instead it’s WhatsApp, WeChat, Messenger, Signal, Slack, Snapchat, etc.

So just as some may lament, “No one calls anymore; they just text”, others may say, “Who wants to call anymore, when you can use WhatsApp?”

So if you believe work was inherently designed to take place in a box, literally a 6-sided container of people, probably time to reflect back to the late 1800s.  Literally, time to think outside the box.

Meucci, Gray, and Bell likely never thought of Android or iOS, but they likely knew their invention would change people, work, society, and culture.
How?
Only time would tell.
And it’s the same with remote work.
It’s not the end of workplace culture.
Just the next phase of it.