I’m thinking about all those massive business conventions and professional meetings that have been cancelled or gone virtual. What’s not replaceable are all those small, informal meetings, drinks at the bar, and deals made off-the-record during these events. Most learning at these extravaganzas wasn’t in the lecture hall or concurrent sessions, but in personal discussions. That’s not going to be replaced. And that’s going to be a big loss for the spread of best practices, new friendships and mentoring, and individual mobility.
Executives will be concerned about productivity losses and increased “silos” and information not shared. They’ll launch an HR study or berate management. But the answer is simple: Their people are no longer three-dimensional.