Director's Take

World of Work image

World of Work

September 26, 2022

Dear Friend of Downtown,

Last week Louisville Forward and LDP hosted a panel discussion with business leaders, HR professionals, and an organizational psychologist about return to office and what the “World of Work” looks like going forward. This was a different conversation than what’s been had before, at least publicly, because we wanted to look at impacts of remote work from three perspectives – the employee, the business, and the community. 

The discussion was intimate and extremely informative. Yes, we all know that flexibility is the balance that companies and employees need to strike. And companies are worried that if they don’t provide that flexibility, employees may find new employment opportunities. There were some interesting observations and helpful suggestions, such as build a physical office setting that works best for employee performance (cubicles probably aren’t the answer) and set expectations with employee input. There were some obvious ones too, such as have your employees in the office on the same days and know that not everyone needs the same thing. 

The ability to have flexibility and balance is a welcome respite from the hurried and harried lives a lot of us led pre COVID. However, I remain concerned and will continue to voice my concern over the favor we are giving to the employees’ desires who want to work only from home. What are we doing to our sense of community and social responsibility when we all retreat into the four walls of our own home? How do we imbue that most-important culture when most of the office is separated by miles not hallways? How do happenstance yet meaningful discussions happen if you can’t bump into someone in the office or on the street? 

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and I hope that we keep our eyes open looking a few years into the future. I may not know you, but I need you. You may be an introvert, but you need community. We may love our daytime freedoms, but we have jobs to do.

I hope to see you on the streets soon.

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