How Face-to-Face Work is Needed for Innovation

This article ‘New Microsoft Study of 60,000 Employees: Remote Work Threatens Long-Term Innovation‘ provides much food for thought on the limitations of remote work in creative endeavors.

While productivity seems to remain stable or even benefit from remote work in certain areas, creative areas lag behind. “a massive new peer-reviewed study from Microsoft […] found that, while remote work is fine for plowing through day-to-day work, it has the potential to put a serious damper on collaboration and innovation long-term.

Thus if one’s work is pure production without distraction, remote work is great. If it requires a lot of informal communication and exchange, nothing replaces face-to-face. While this is quite intuitive and not a discovery, the fact that it is described in a peer-reviewed paper enhances the validity of the findings.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls this ability of remote work to simultaneously improve heads-down productivity and harm creativity the hybrid work paradox.” 

In a world where most value lies in innovation and creativity, a return to the office is inevitable at least for part of the time, and that’s exactly what most organizations are doing now.