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Era of Remote Work: The Chinks In The Armour

By | Ashish Ranjan | Citibank | Novartis | UCB | Larsen & Toubro | Entrepreneur | Working on Culture | Capability | Transformation

The COVID pandemic radically expedited the adoption of remote work. As I write this, most of the organizations are talking about reimagining work in terms of various models, hinging primarily on who should come to a designated workplace (and how many times) and who should not.

As it happens, reimagining work & workplace offers a solution but, in its current form, is unable to replicate some of the time-tested features of the existing model (of having a designated workplace). 

Let me elaborate.

Our workplace today is an evolved version of what started with industrial revolution.

Industrial revolution gave birth to a class of workers called the white collar workers. Their work was imagined in a way where they will spend stipulated hours of their lives working at a designated workplace and will be compensated against it.

To do these kind of jobs, one arrived at the workplace at particular time, worked the hours and then left at the stipulated time. Once home, no contact with work. It was an explainable bubble in your life – it was a day within a day.

There were three fundamentals of this workplace – apprenticeship, culture & serendipity. Over years, the workplace went through an evolution yet the fundamentals did not change.


Most of the workers learnt the ropes through working with someone far more experienced in that field. The concept of having a designated workplace armed everyone with the ability to co-exist in physical proximity with seasoned professionals of that particular field in a well defined workplace & for a stipulated time, everyday. Managers taught you everything from dictating a response to a client, to starting a business conversation, asking right questions in a client meet, closing a business deal etc., all under their direct gaze.

Generation of bankers/marketeers/sales people/product managers learnt from their seniors, as did the traders in the dealing room.

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