The Benefits of Local-Remote Work

Adam Feil
3 min readMay 7, 2021
Try having a Zoom meeting from here. Source: Peter Bennets,

For many, remote work has been a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic cloud. It turns out with no commute it’s a lot easier to find that time to exercise, tidy up the house, or do absolutely anything else you want to do.

COVID-19 may linger for a long time, but it seems like in the coming months society should be returning to “normal,” at least in the sense that we won’t need to take special precautions to avoid COVID other than getting vaccinated. And with that return to normalcy comes the speculation over the future of the office. Will workers flock back to the office? Will they insist on remaining at home?

But as I think about the options for my company, I’m excited about a previously rare remote work setup. For lack of a better term, I’ll call it “local-remote.”

Before COVID, if a company had a large number of employees concentrated in one city, it was very likely they all worked together in an office, but thanks to COVID there are now many companies who have a high concentration of employees in one area who are all working from home.

Not Hybrid

There have been surveys showing a “hybrid model” is popular among employees. This involves some days at home each week, and some days going into the office. None of the actual reasons for a hybrid model seem to hold up for me. I think it’s popular because it feels like a middle ground. Nobody wants to have to go back into the office every day, but also it’s a little scary to think about never going back to the office.

And there are significant challenges to this approach:

  • The company still pays for office facilities that will be under-utilized.
  • Employees need to maintain a work from home setup while also keeping a desk at work.
  • Benefits of going to the office are significantly diminished when fewer people are there.
  • Open offices, which have taken over, are particularly bad places to have Zoom meetings.

Virtual Work, Real-life Relationships

In a local-remote situation, there’s no need to work a full day at the office just to foster relationships and maintain company culture. By now many companies have seen that…

Adam Feil

Educational Psychology Ph.D., business analytics nerd, computer scientist, President @MakeStickers