With the sudden shift to remote work brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many corporations have had to quickly assemble a patchwork of policies, procedures, and technologies. Timothy Golden, a professor in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, foresees that many companies will adopt remote work on a permanent basis, and need to devote considerable attention and focus to systematically assessing the lessons they have learned.

Golden is a leading expert in the field of telecommuting, telework, and the relationship between technology and managerial behavior. With more than 20 years of experience studying the impact of remote work on corporations and individuals, Golden’s insights about the future are rooted in a deep understanding of the history of remote work.

In the wake of the pandemic, Golden envisions companies adding a Chief Remote Work Officer, who is responsible for maintaining the effectiveness of the company’s remote work program, to their C-Suite. This person will likely be a boundary spanner who garners resources and support from across silos in the company to ensure remote work remains effective in its long-term implementation. With the continuing importance of remote work, the Chief Remote Work Officer will need a seat at the executive table to ensure it receives the attention it needs.

With remote work becoming even more firmly engrained in corporate cultures, Golden expects changes in the ways employees interact. With large numbers of employees continuing to work remotely, employees will expect support for this work mode in many forms — from promotion opportunities and performance metrics, to mentoring and technology support.

Another implication of remote work going forward is that the demand for real estate will change, and companies will see real estate as platforms for collaborative work, rather than simply for work. With a significant permanent portion of the workforce likely to remain as remote workers, companies will be able to scale back their real estate yet also reallocate existing spaces to ones that are used for more collaborative interactions, rather than simply offices for individualized working.

Golden is available to speak about these and other aspects of the future of remote work, as well as specific lessons he has learned through decades of studying this topic.