Past, Present, and Future of Remote Work: The Swing of a Pendulum?

Past, Present, and Future of Remote Work: The Swing of a Pendulum?

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

Remote work practice varies widely across occupations, organizations, industries, and countries. This case considers the forces that lead organizations to adopt and reexamine remote work practices. The evolving landscape of remote work comes with benefits, challenges, organizational implications, as well as managerial dilemmas. Employees of various ranks, identities, and roles (e.g., working parents, individuals with disabilities, highly involved supervisors, co-workers, senior executives) and companies must consider unique contextual factors that may help or hinder the adoption and implementation of this practice across industries. The case presents examples of supervisory interventions and employee-friendly policies in creating workplaces conducive to optimizing remote work. Students will be asked to weigh various alternative scenarios and make managerial decisions, such as whether to (a) allow more employees to work remotely; (b) allow employees to work partially or exclusively remotely; (c) allow remote work regardless of employee tenure, role, and responsibility; and (d) invest deliberately in remote work systems. These managerial decisions will be pivotal in advancing organizational competitiveness and sustainability in the coming decades.

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