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The Future of the Office summary

Peter Cappelli

Work from Home, Remote Work, and the Hard Choices We All Face

3.9 (157 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

The Future of the Office by Peter Cappelli explores the evolving nature of work and the potential impact of technology on traditional office environments. It offers insights into how organizations can adapt to the changing landscape.

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    The Future of the Office
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    What we learned from COVID-19

    It’s April 2020. An ABC reporter is presenting the news from his home – a necessity with the recent COVID-19 restrictions. At the end of his piece, the camera zooms out to reveal the man isn’t wearing pants.

    There was a time when this might have ruined his career. Instead, he laughed it off and – for the most part – the world laughed with him. This was an early sign that things were changing. By the final months of the pandemic, there was much that had come to be accepted as normal regarding work – not just going pantless on a Zoom call.

    If we want any of these positive changes to continue, it’s important that we know what exactly happened during the pandemic.

    Initially, many employers treated it like a bad storm. They just had to close up and wait it out – the public was saying no more than two weeks. The focus of a lot of businesses was on preparing financially for a stoppage, not on how to keep working.

    As the realization sunk in that things might be like this for a while, companies started taking more drastic measures. The Marriott International hotel announced that two-thirds of its corporate staff would be suspended with 20 percent pay until further notice. Some big companies like Amazon and Walmart offered bonuses to encourage workers to stay, despite the risks.

    The wiser businesses saw what was happening and started closing offices and letting employees work from home. Microsoft announced early on that it had no intention of reopening offices until 2021, and during the peak of the pandemic, it was reported that 35 percent of employees in the US were working remotely.

    The general reception was positive – workers reported greater satisfaction in almost all areas. Even employers declared the whole work-from-home experience a success. It seems that the time employees saved by not having to commute was largely put into doing more work. People appreciated the trust that their bosses placed in them and they felt a certain obligation to maintain or even increase productivity.

    Some other interesting trends were noticed. The number of meetings increased but they were shorter and more efficient – made possible by the fact that video conferencing was better than ever. Some companies also noticed an increase in remote work in the evening, presumably after parents had put their kids to bed. People were working the way they wanted.

    So what did the pandemic teach us? Not only is working from home a viable option but it can actually be better. But this does depend largely on how it’s executed. Now, in the waning years of the pandemic, this style of work has gone from a necessity to an option. It’s time to think about what you can expect when given this option to work from home.

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    What is The Future of the Office about?

    The Future of the Office (2021) takes an analytical look at the current state of the traditional working office and what recent changes and developments may mean for the future. Drawing on research, anecdotes, and case studies of businesses responding to the global pandemic, it highlights the unique and exciting opportunities that we now have to fundamentally change the nature of where and how we work.

    The Future of the Office Review

    The Future of the Office (2021) by Peter Cappelli gives valuable insights into the changing landscape of workspaces and why businesses should pay attention. Here's why this book is a worthy read:

    • Offers a forward-thinking perspective on the future of work, exploring emerging trends such as remote work, flexible schedules, and the impact of technology.
    • Provides real-world examples and case studies that demonstrate the practical implications of these changes, helping businesses adapt and thrive in the modern workplace.
    • Addresses the challenges and opportunities faced by organizations in redefining their office spaces, fostering collaboration, and attracting and retaining talent.

    Who should read The Future of the Office?

    • White-collar workers wondering if the shift to working from home is here to stay
    • Managers considering the pros and cons of changing up the traditional office environment
    • Big thinkers who want to see how one of the fundamental aspects of our work lives has been brought down by the global pandemic

    About the Author

    Peter Cappelli is the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. His recent research focuses on the changing nature of employment in the US and the implications of the modern workforce. His other books include Will College Pay Off? and Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs.

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    The Future of the Office FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Future of the Office?

    The main message of The Future of the Office is to understand how work and workplaces are evolving in the modern world.

    How long does it take to read The Future of the Office?

    The reading time for The Future of the Office varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Future of the Office a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Future of the Office is worth reading for anyone interested in the changing dynamics of workplaces and how it impacts work. It provides valuable insights and ideas.

    Who is the author of The Future of the Office?

    The author of The Future of the Office is Peter Cappelli.

    What to read after The Future of the Office?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Future of the Office, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • Out of Office by Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Peterson
    • Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
    • You, Happier by Daniel G. Amen
    • Gut Check by Steven R. Gundry
    • Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
    • Remote, Not Distant by Gustavo Razzetti
    • Marketing Artificial Intelligence by Paul Roetzer & Mike Kaput
    • How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
    • The Courage Habit by Kate Swoboda