The world unquestionably changed in so many ways due to COVID. One of the ways the world has changed the most is how we work. Businesses had to very quickly change to a remote-first reality. That move put a strain on less technical businesses and it put stress on employees who were used to being around people as part of their job. The new reality will likely be something closer to a hybrid model but COVID proved a good percentage of the work we do every day could be done virtually.
Not all things will go virtual though. Here are several things that will remain in person for the most part:
Strategic sales with large accounts: This is something that can never be virtual. Large sales and business relationships have to be done in-person to establish trust and strong rapport. The investment of travel and entertainment for large accounts and strategic relationships will always be worth it. We will see a large percentage of sales and introduction meetings go virtual but not the big ones. There is too much on the line.
New employees in roles that involve strong teamwork: The teams that come to mind here are sales, brand marketing, product development, and some engineering. You can never replace the serendipity and spontaneous conversations that take place in person with these roles. Especially new teammates. These roles all involve heavy collaboration and brainstorming new ideas. That work cannot be done over Zoom or Miro with the same effectiveness.
Entry-level sales: Sales is all about empathy, energy, and knowledge. New salespeople need to be around other salespeople to get the energy, empathy, and knowledge it takes to convert sales. Those things are feelings and learned by example in spontaneous moments. Entry-level sales is very hard in general. It is the hardest team to build at any company. Making this role remote would greatly increase stress, disconnection, and ultimately churn of salespeople. Sales organizations with high churn typically fall behind.