Office at Offsite: How to Temporary Colocation Shapes Communication in a Fully Remote Organisation

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5 Apr 2024

12:30 -14:00

Times are shown in local time.

Open to: All

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Room W4.05 (Cambridge Judge Business School)

Trumpington St



United Kingdom

Join our Strategy and International Business seminar

Speaker: Professor Prithwiraj Choudhury, Harvard Business School

Seminar Strategy and International Business.

About the seminar topic

This paper investigates the joint role of temporary colocation events and demographic diversity in shaping online communication between workers in a fully remote organisation. Motivated by the emergence of all-remote organisations, and a resulting increase in diversity within the talent people, we aim to contribute to the literatures on remote work and micro geography by examining the effectiveness of temporary colocation events in stimulating workers’ subsequent online interaction across demographic divides. Leveraging proprietary Slack communications data, as well as data on a company-wide retreat from an all-remote organisation, we find that, as prior theory predicts, attendees at the retreat witness an increase in subsequent online communication relative to non-attendees.

Yet, we hypothesise and find that these communication benefits accrue mostly to demographically similar co-attendees, leading to more pronounced communication siloes along demographic dimensions post-retreat. We also show sharing a taxi ride — which we conceptualise as a brief period of constrained temporary colocation with a limited number of interaction partners — can help overcome these barriers, increasing online interactions even between demographically dissimilar pairs of employees.

Speaker bio

Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury is the Lumry Family Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School. He was an Assistant Professor at Wharton prior to joining Harvard. His research is focused on studying the Future of Work, especially the changing Geography of Work. In particular, he studies the productivity effects of geographic mobility of workers, causes of geographic immobility and productivity effects of remote work practices such as ‘work from anywhere’ and ‘all-remote’. His research has been published in leading academic journals such as Academy of Management Annals, Management Science, Organisation Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Research Policy, Review of Financial Studies, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Law Economics and Organisation, Harvard Business Review, and has been cited in BBC, Bloomberg News, CNBC, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, Fortune, WIRED, Axios, Nikkei Asian Review, Inc. and India Today among other outlets. In 2023, Forbes included him in the Future of Work-50 list.

He earned his Doctorate from Harvard, has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Prior to academia, he worked at McKinsey & Company, Microsoft and IBM. He is currently an Associate Editor at Management Science.


No registration required. If you have any questions about this seminar, please email Luke Slater.