Signs of employee burnout were rising pre-pandemic with many hearing the famed Dolly Parton soundtrack play in their heads on the morning commute.

“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living
Barely getting by, it's all taking and no giving
They just use your mind, and they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it”

Now, new realities mean new ways of working and it calls for a renewed focus on results, not butts in seats or hours worked. Flexible work, remote work, hybrid work – over the past year we’ve heard it all as companies coined new terms to describe how their employees are working. But a big lesson learned is that work is what you do, not where you go. Fifth Harmony says it best:

“You don't gotta go to work
Work, work, work, work, work, work
But you gotta put in work”

The acceleration of a vaccine rollout is bringing a lot of hope for a return to some semblance of “normalcy” around work. Once we have administered the vaccine, all will be well and we can go back to how it was? Right?


The reality is your people won’t work in the same way ever again. Expecting workers to come into the office every day – not going to happen. Wasting so much of the day with the stress of commuting and where you work dictating so much of your life – it’s not coming back.

I am lucky enough to work at company that has embraced this freedom around work for a while, but I do realize that this has been a big departure from the old ways of working for many. And as it’s becoming widely accepted that WFH isn’t going away, companies not used to this hybrid work model will need to reimagine everything from workplace culture to technology infrastructure.

New challenges have given rise to new roles and companies are figuring out the organizational and leadership changes needed to support their workforce, be more thoughtful about how employees work best, how they connect and collaborate and how to prepare for the “next normal.”

Read perspectives from industry experts Maribel Lopez, Tony Bradley, Zeus Kerravala, Adrian Swinscoe and Tom Taulli on the shifting work and technology landscape.