Companies want people to go back to the office — and for good reason

Many of the world’s top companies, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, want employees to return to the office.

Tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are also inviting employees who have been vaccinated back to their desks.

South Africa is no different. A recent Digital Corporation in South Africa 2021 research study conducted by World Wide Worx revealed that 64% of South African enterprises expect all staff to make a full return to the workplace.

Many companies are planning a hybrid model where employees return to the office for a few days of the week.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, told employees they should plan to work in an office at least three days a week.

Amazon also said its staff should come back to the office three days a week, with the possibility of working remotely for a few days a week.

The last year has shown that it is possible for employees to work from home, supported by technological advances like video conferencing and cloud services.

This raises the question of why companies want employees to come to the office.

Vestact CEO Paul Theron may have the answer – tacit knowledge.

Vestact office
Vestact office

Theron explained in a recent Vestact newsletter that tacit knowledge is knowledge that cannot be captured through words alone.

Riding a bicycle, creating great art, assessing opportunities, avoiding risks, cooking, public speaking, coding, rapid problem solving, and heart surgery.

Tacit knowledge instruction mostly happens through imitation, emulation, and apprenticeship. You learn by copying what a master does, often blindly, until you internalise the principles behind the actions.

You do not get it by studying written manuals and it’s not usually gained from deliberate practice.

“Learning on the job from old hands. I endorse that approach. I have learned a lot in the last two decades from Ted Weisberg of Seaport Securities, our partner firm in New York,” said Theron.

“This is also why I’m against working from home. The Vestact team operates from our office in the Rosebank Firestation, and we learn from each other, in person, on the job.”

Now read: Amazon is looking for South Africans to work from home

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Companies want people to go back to the office — and for good reason