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Over the last two and a half years, remote and hybrid working has become the norm — a majority of employed Americans have the option of working from home for all or part of the week, and 87% of workers who were offered remote work embraced the opportunity heartily.

While some companies are pushing for a return to the office, today’s strapped labor market is giving employees more power to push back for remote, or at least flexible, jobs. This isn’t just a pandemic response anymore — it’s a way of life, and it has the potential to make some businesses better. People who work from home have been reporting an uptick in their productivity levels without the distractions that come with an office — Oh, it’s Beth’s birthday. Cupcakes in the kitchen! 

But both employers and employees have reported some downsides to remote work. Isolation can make people feel lonely and disconnected, leading to mental health issues. Learning and collaboration have taken a hit without the human element of being in the same room. And it can be difficult to create and maintain a company culture remotely.

Luckily, some seriously smart people have thought hard about how to address these challenges and make it work. We put a few of them onstage last week at TechCrunch Disrupt, and while you can watch the whole video, here are some of their best insights.

Be hyper-intentional when coming together IRL

Two and a half years into the pandemic, people are “actually clamoring to spend more time together,” said Adriana Roche, chief people officer at Mural, during a panel discussion at Disrupt.

Ironically, one of the main solutions to the woes of remote work is finding ways to bring staff together IRL. That might mean a couple of times per week in the office if everyone lives in the same city, but if the team is fully remote, companies have to be more intentional with how they plan monthly or quarterly off-sites.

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