Coffee carts and free food aren’t enough to reverse these changing times

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While some might prefer never to meet their colleagues in person, it is likely that working from home or the office will not be a black-and-white decision. Some, like companies Apple and Amazon, may insist on a weekly presence, whereas others may wish to bring teams together for training, onboarding, or networking several times a year. These arrangements will be easier if staff are readily able to travel in when necessary.

Sadly, it is likely to be the lower-skilled, non-touch roles that are most vulnerable to being moved elsewhere, reflecting trends well entrenched before COVID-19 hit. Highly skilled or experienced employees are generally far harder to replace, and threatening them with the office or outsourcing is likely to result in a flight of intellectual capital to more enlightened employers.

It has always been cheaper to have some forms of work done overseas, but that fact has next to nothing to do with employee preferences for WFH. Don’t fall for the scaremongering.

Jim Bright, FAPS, is Professor of Career Education and Development at ACU and owns Bright and Associates, a career management consultancy. Email to opinion@jimbright.com. Follow him on Twitter @DrJimBright.

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