SWARM is excited to be sponsoring season 3 of the podcast Cut Your Learning Curve, a podcast about learning and the intersection of work and technology. In this season Nate Cooper, managing partner at SWARM is joined by Eve MacKnight, Director of Learning to discuss topics pertinent to life and work in our digital age.

In the past year, Covid has radically upended offices in the USA. Co-working spaces, open offices and company cafeterias emptied out as office work swiftly moved online.  Some of the benefits became clear – reduced commuting time and a relatively small drop in productivity. The challenges have also been equally well-documented, from news articles to memes on Twitter: squirming kids and pets in the workspace, seeing faces only on a screen, and never really turning off. 

Now that the US is beginning a larger vaccine rollout, some elements of office life pre-Covid will likely return. But the long term impact of this sudden experiment in mass remote working remains to be seen. Unlike K-12 schools, for the most part the infrastructure of remote communication for office work has generally been adequate and reasonable to maintain. There’s a strong financial incentive for a distributed workforce: lower real estate and labor costs, and access to a far larger pool of potential hires. 

Yet despite the expense, cities remain a huge draw for entertainment, education and the best health services in the country.  Particularly for tech and the other “creative capital” industries, innovation still happens in the unexpected encounter – during a coffee break, at a whiteboard or in the stairwell. For many years, some venture capital firms in Silicon Valley engaged in “the 20-minute rule,” funding companies that were a twenty minute or less drive from the office.  We wonder if that will still hold true for the future.

SWARM’s business model is based on remote work. For more, check out this week’s podcast with Nate and Eve.

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