My recent attendance at a conference in Miami in late June, 2021 has caused me to reflect on the purported value of the pandemic-caused increase in virtual work. Conference attendees included hundreds of colleagues who customarily meet in-person semi-annually, but had not met in-person since June, 2019. While we all agreed on the benefits of the increase in virtual meetings and work-from-home policies (i.e., increased efficiency; improved work-life balance; and decreased negative interpersonal interactions), and we acknowledged that most of our companies would retain some form of virtual meetings and work-from-home, I came away from the conference wondering whether a massive change to permanent virtual work would be beneficial or detrimental. I had the realization that our interpersonal interactions were much warmer than previously, and each person treated each other person (even new acquaintances) as long-lost best friends. Offers to collaborate seemed to be more numerous and sincere, being based on shared interests, which were discussed more freely and openly than at previous conferences. It remains to be seen whether employees will remain highly appreciative of physical presence or will revert to taking physical presence for granted, and the ways in which employee satisfaction and efficiency will change.
Shani D. Carter
Shani D. Carter, Ph.D. is a Professor of Business and the Director of Accreditation, and has been at Wagner College since the fall 2015. She received a Ph.D. in Industrial and Labor Relations (Personnel/Human Resource Studies, Labor Economics, and Research Methods) from Cornell University, a M.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations (Personnel/Human Resource Studies and Labor Economics) from Cornell University, and a B.A. in Government from Cornell University. Dr. Carter teaches courses in: Human Resource Management; Organizational Behavior; Leadership; and Thesis / Practicum. Dr. Carter has published more than 40 articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings on Human Resources and Assessment of Student Learning. Dr. Carter has traveled extensively for business and leisure to many globally important cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and she enjoys sharing her love of international travel with her students.
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