Is Remote Work here to stay?

“In the mid-1990s we all got wired up and our computers got attached to servers globally. If I was to call it Remote Work 1.0 that was when collaboration.

Sunil Rajguru
New Update

Edited excerpts from an exhaustive video interview with Punit Modhgil, Co-founder, Octane Research...


“In the mid-1990s we all got wired up and our computers got attached to servers globally. If I was to call it Remote Work 1.0 that was when collaboration started through email, and we had to go to specialized studios to do video conferencing with expensive airtime. Connectivity went to the next level when data, devices, and digital came together in about 2004-05. The next level of what I would call Remote 2.0 continues till now. It is being driven by video and great collaboration tools. That has helped us go to the next level of the remote.

Ready from a people perspective?

What we have seen in the last two years is that technology has improved drastically. Collaboration has become all-pervasive. It’s become inexpensive. We were ready when Corona happened from a tech perspective, even in India. But from a people perspective, from a behavior perspective, from building high-performance teams only on remote, this is new territory. This even as our workforce is changing and we are talking about the gig economy.


The universe of Remote 3.0

As we go forward to Remote 3.0, a big factor will be technology. There are human adaptation and behavior issues. How do you build sustainable performance just by doing remote? We are used to attendance-based compensation, and we are trying to adapt that to remote working. Will we move towards output-based salary packages? What is the new work universe?

We have a lot of young people in their twenties who find it very easy to collaborate. But how do you find out about company culture and how do you find out the unwritten rules of an organization? What about the water cooler moments and the chai sutta breaks?


Ultimately culture is what makes companies tick. That’s the part that is very intriguing. From a tech stack, it’s more predictable. How will the workforce adapt? How will we have new definitions of HR? Remote 3.0 will be a challenge. Humans are getting a fatigue factor looking into the pinhole camera. How do we build health and wellness around remote if you have to sustain it? There will be a lag in human behavior at our workplace.

Codified versus creative jobs

A lot of those jobs which can be codified—rule-based and process-driven—will be remote-enabled. But clearly, all jobs will now be hybrid jobs. Wherever possible, all new jobs will have some component that will be hybrid. This demarcation between 8 hours every day and I am off will wear away. Work-life boundaries will blur. Location-premium jobs which can be codified will go away.


But some jobs which need creative iteration between teams, in-person collaboration, and brainstorming, I don’t think we’ve been able to crack that code yet.

Going beyond, into the Metaverse

As we go into slightly more mid to long-term, the entire hype will be around the metaverse; of AR and VR, augmentation, and AI; how you can have a better virtual presence. Facebook and other folks in the metaverse spending lot of money on what now seems hype, may have something compelling to offer 18-24 months from now. I think people's ready part will hold us back from going more exploitative technology.


These are excerpts from a video chat with Editor Sunil Rajguru and part of our PCQuest 35 Years Series on the Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow of Technology.

Check out the complete interview...