As we all prepare for the fall back to school/back to work season, I thought I’d touch on a topic that has been top of mind for me for the last six months.
The covid pandemic taught many of us that we can be productive and our companies can succeed in a fully remote work environment. But just because you can does not mean you should.
In the venture capital business, this has meant making investments in teams we don’t meet face to face. For founders, this has meant raising rounds from their offices instead of getting on planes.
As the pandemic has eased and offices have gradually reopened over the last year, we are meeting more founders face to face. But we have not gone back to a world where we meet every team we back in person. I don’t think we will ever go fully back to that world.
But even if the way we work has changed permanently, it does not mean that it has changed for the better. I believe that all change has positive and negative impacts. We can meet more founders than we used to. And founders can meet more investors. That is good. But matches are now being made over video and that is not always great.
We know that humans are better to each other in person. We know that in-person interaction is more meaningful, we are more present, and we connect in more fundamental ways.
So I believe that we must work in the coming years to get out of our offices (or homes) and see each other in person more often.
That means we should run fundraising processes that include meeting in person. We can do the initial screens (on both sides) over zoom, but the final selection process should include face-to-face meetings whenever possible. And board meetings should be done in person at least a few times a year. And those in-person meetings should include some social time in addition to business.
For companies, this means hiring should include a face-to-face meeting. Teams should meet in person regularly. Going to the office should be a regular occurrence for those that live near one.
It is time to get back to the office, at least some of the time. It will make for better business. And I also think it will make us happier at work.