MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Contextualizing the Office: How and Where Work Gets Done

  • 4m
  • Martha Bird
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2020

Work has definitely been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For those fortunate enough to be working remotely, speculation about returning to an office is accompanied by a range of mixed emotions. For some, staying at home has fueled a strong desire for a return to work life where in-person social connections can be restored. Others are thrilled with the time and money they have saved by eliminating long commutes to centralized offices.

Another subgroup of people stands undecided, acknowledging both the pros and cons of their current work situations. Many express loneliness and miss the physicality of being among colleagues; they miss their old routines and rituals, the structured predictability of their workdays, and the demarcation of work life from domestic life. Now, it seems like work life and domestic life are all rolled into one, and for many, it’s a very messy time. Yet, many of these same people also find themselves embracing the flexibility and fluidity afforded by not going into the office every day. They relish the opportunity to spend more time with family while also finding time to focus on their own wellness. Like so many social relationships, the prospect of returning to the office is complicated.

About the Author

Martha Bird is a business anthropologist at ADP focused on understanding the cultural contexts of work and workplaces.

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  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Contextualizing the Office – How and Where Work Gets Done