Why Apple, Google and Facebook are returning employees to the office, — Dominique Piotet, CEO of UNIT.City

Dominique Piotet, UNIT.City

When Steve Jobs founded Pixar, he had a clear idea that people needed to work together. There was no hint of remote work in his concept. He believed that innovative solutions are born spontaneously: when people from different departments intersect with each other and are forced to interact, writes the CEO of the innovation park UNIT.City Dominique Piotet in a column for NV.

Today, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and others are gradually returning employees to offices after lockdowns and remote modes. While in a hybrid format: three days in the office, two — at home.

“Covid-19 tested us all and our need to work together for strength. The question was: how long and how effectively can we work from home without daily interaction? Is telework a new norm or an intermediate form of work organization?”

Internal studies conducted by various companies have shown that global productivity during quarantine, especially in the first year, increased to 30%. No trips to work, traffic jams, and eventually people had time to do more. Added to this were the “fear” of losing a job and a willingness to show colleagues and management their usefulness and significance.

However, the overexertion did not lead to increased productivity. Despite the “overtime” hours, staff focused less on tasks than before the pandemic. The lion’s share of time was eaten by “online meetings”.

“The quality of offline cooperation is higher. When we are together, when we "face" each other in the office or at lunch, we feel part of the common cause and part of the community.”

68% of UNIT.City resident companies implement joint projects only because they met on local campuses. They met here at events, in shuttle buses, in cafes, or on the sports field. In such “pushes” new teams and new projects are born.

Existing virtual communication tools help maintain a superficial connection. But for creativity, for the birth of breakthrough ideas and their implementation, such a connection is not enough. As long as we do not have digital tools that create a sense of belonging to a strong community, live communication will not replace anything.

Read more about changes in approaches to workflow organization in the world’s leading technology companies via the link.