The future of work is right here

Going “back to work”? No, thank you!

Remote-first is the real New Way of Working, and it’s here to stay.

Sébastien Dubois.
Management Matters
Published in
19 min readAug 21, 2021


Around the world, many organizations are pushing people to “Get back to work”. And that’s enough! No more insults. No, thank you. We all deserve better!

Picture courtesy of Tobe Mokolo:

Important note: Don’t pay attention to the precision of the timeline. I’m telling a story, not teaching a history lesson. I’m sharing my memories as they are: fuzzy.

Unreal start

When the first images from Wuhan started going viral, it all seemed like a TV Show. Everything was as if this was all happening in a parallel universe. But no, this was real. China was clearly taking things seriously.

Bizarrely, the whole world seemed to observe the situation without feeling immediately in danger. Nobody seemed to feel at risk. But it doesn’t take a genius to imagine how quickly that disease could spread in a connected world like ours… I remember thinking “This is coming our way real fast; why isn’t anyone talking about this?!”. Governments didn’t wake up quickly enough. They started looking at each other, wondering what to do. I don’t know what really happened behind the scenes, but from the citizens’ point of view, nothing was apparent for the longest time…

What’s felt most surprising to me was the fact that Belgium was already hit a few years ago by avian influenza. And still… no reaction while China was busy building huge hospitals in a matter of days. It was obvious that this was no joke. For them at least. Our government still didn’t seem to take things that seriously in February 2020, while COVID-19 was already spreading like fire in Italy.

And here we are more than a year and a half later, living in a completely different world, wondering if/when the next wave will come…

Metro, work, sleep, repeat

It took a while before we really felt “part” of the story. But reality started to dawn on us. A pandemic. Not only a fun board game anymore, but a tangible risk for the whole world. Crazy.

It was all fuzzy. Was it just the flu or impending doom? Who knew? Where did it come…