COVID-19 has changed the way we work.

Even before the pandemic, the workforce increasingly relied on remote collaboration technologies like videoconferencing etc. The global crisis accelerated the adoption of these work tools and practices in an unprecedented way. By April 2020, about more than half companies were reported that more than 80% of their employees worked from home because of COVID-19.

That shift was made possible by decades of research into, and then development of, technologies that support remote work, but everyone cannot uses these technologies smoothly. As early as 1987, groundbreaking research showed some of the challenges facing women working from home using technology. That included the difficulties of child care, work and home separation and employee growth opportunities in various fields.

Since then, we have learned much more about virtual collaboration. As an associate professor of information systems, I’m interested in what we can expect as we eagerly anticipate a post-pandemic future. One thing stands out: Hybrid work arrangements – that is, employees who are doing some tasks in the office and others at home virtually – is obviously going to be a big part of the picture.

One survey from April 2021 shows 99% of human resources leaders expect employees to work in hybrid arrangement moving forward. Many have already started. As just one example, Dropbox, the file hosting service, made a permanent shift during the pandemic, encouraging employees to work from home and organize team meetings in the office.

The definition of “hybrid” varies in other organizations. Some workers might be in the office for a couple days, a week or every other day. Other businesses may require only occasional face-to-face time, perhaps meeting in a centralized location once a month or a quater.

Either way, research shows many companies fail in implementing their virtual workforce.



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