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2 Dimensional Versus 3 Dimensional Interaction

With each candidate call we make, regardless of the search – across all industries and functions, the first question we get relates to where work will take place.  The questions are varied but all have the same theme:

  • Is hybrid an option?
  • How does the organization define their hybrid or work-location-flexibility program?
  • Can the position be remote?

The title of this blog entry:  2 Dimensional Versus 3 Dimensional

This came from a discussion I was having with a friend who is an Implementation Strategist (consultant).  He works with large clients (national and/or global).  While large companies are accustomed to working with people from all over the country or from multiple countries, his consulting sessions tend to be live/in-person.  He sees a difference in interaction and outcome. 

I can’t imagine our last few years without Zoom 

March 16th of 2020 was the day I call COVID-day.  It was the day I told my team to work from home for the next two to three weeks.  (Predicting the future – I was clearly off that day!)  With help from one of my colleagues (thank you Deb!), I signed up for a corporate Zoom account and added Zoom to my Outlook button-bar.  I even took an on-line Zoom class on how to most effectively use this relatively new and rapidly expanding technology.  

Most of the people that I know worked partially from home the rest of that year and well into 2021.  We became accustomed to it – no commute, a dress code that was ‘split’ (look good on top – wear a ‘zirt’ – a Zoom shirt or blouse), and the flexibility to walk the dog when needed.  For health/safety purposes, we stayed home most of the time. 

Different clients yet one theme

We work across all industries and functions.  Our clients are small to medium-size employers (private, public, non-profit and academic).  There is one common denominator, however – they all want their leadership/senior employees to be in the office a good portion of the time.  Are they flexible?  Yes – but not ‘remote’ flexible.  Our clients want a person who will invest the time to get to know their peers and team – in person. 

LinkedIn Jobs – REMOTE!

The contrast with large company positions is very real.  Weekly, I receive a list of job openings from LinkedIn.  These are positions that for some reason LinkedIn feels I am qualified for.  They appear to be with medium and large employers.  The vast majority of the jobs include the word remote or hybrid.  To me, a title of Senior Vice President of People and the word ‘remote’ do not go together. 

We want interaction 

On January 2nd (2023), there was an article in the StarTribune titled, A fresh take on fitness shapes up in Twin Cities suburbs:  Boutique fitness franchises are opening at a brisk pace as work-from-home professionals look for connection outside of work.  (See  There is a clear need to interact and workers are missing it.  The fitness industry is one of many industries trying to fill this social need. 

The impact of the pandemic will be studied for decades

Are we as productive from home?  Can collaboration exist over Zoom?  Did companies lose ground, stay the same or gain ground based on the flexibility options they chose?  Anecdotal answers are everywhere and based on what people want their answers (and their company cultures) to be.  Research may answer the questions at some point.  In the meantime, it appears the pendulum is slowly going back to the middle – at least with the small and medium employers.  They want to see you – LIVE and IN-PERSON – at least some of the time.