Last week, in a virtual panel discussion hosted by Wired HQ in conjunction with CES, Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor and Slack CEO and Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield discussed today’s all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. The online event, moderated by Wired Interim Editor Megan Greenwell and titled “The Virtual Workforce: The Shifting Paradigm of What it Means to Go to the Office,” is available via a video replay here.
The event included discussion of how everyone’s working lives have changed during the pandemic, and also delved into new models for work that are likely to take shape as vaccinations roll out and many people eventually return to their workplaces. Bret and Stewart agreed that our concept of “the office” will become permanently redefined.
Here are a few highlights:
I was just on the phone with an insurance company this morning that estimates, even on the other side of this pandemic, over 70% of their workforce will be distributed. And I think that’s really representative of the customer conversations I’m having.– Bret Taylor
“If you had asked many chief executives whether it’s possible for us to just all start working from home the next weekend, that would have seemed impossible. Sometimes things that seem impossible happen when they need to happen, and you discover that you’re able to do them. I think with that discovery comes an era where we will have a little bit more thoughtfulness about how we can best leverage technologies at work.” –Stewart Butterfield
“Once we are no longer required to be separated for health concerns, what is the new normal? We did a survey of our employees a few months back, and the vast majority wanted to work remotely. We redid the same survey recently, and 72 percent of our employees said they want to return to the workplace because of the fatigue from the pandemic. I think that’s really interesting because it shows you that the best companies will have to ask ‘how do I intentionally develop my culture in this all-digital, work anywhere world?” –Bret Taylor
“Whereas before people looked at digital technologies as ways of augmenting the ‘real way that you work,’ which was together in a room with people, we are experiencing an inversion. So now, the “real way you work” together is the digital way. That’s a real paradigm shift, and I think a shift in the way people will organizationally design company culture and productivity.” –Stewart Butterfield
“The big question is, of the habits that we’ve developed in this pandemic, what will we retain on the other side? What does a company need to succeed in the all-digital, work anywhere world?… The world collectively has now developed a beginner’s mind about the way we do work. So much of what we did before was because that’s the way we did it before. And now that we’ve been forced to reimagine the way we work, I think the opportunity is to say, okay, on the other side of this, how do we want to intentionally rebuild our culture?” –Bret Taylor
Don’t miss the full event replay, available here.
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