The Great Debate: Why “Remote Work” Doesn’t Work

Spring 2022

Current thinking about the workforce is fundamentally flawed. Managers today either believe in the concept of RTO (return to the office), with employees back in the offices the way they were in 2019, or that WFH is here to stay, with office facilities shrinking dramatically or disappearing altogether.

Find out why both views are wrong, and that the very concept of “remote work” doesn’t really… er… work. As usual in the Great Debate, Greg Ferro of Packetpushers and Johna Till Johnson of Nemertes not only fail to agree with the conventional wisdom-they don’t always agree with each other. Esteemed moderator Doug Comer of Purdue University ensures that the dialogue stays civil and that the panel provides a panoramic view of the key issues.

This lively and spirited debate will ensure you come away with new perspectives and new ways to think about the workforce of the future.


Dr. Douglas E. Comer is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University. Formerly, he served as VP of Research at Cisco Systems. As a member of the original IAB, he participated in early work on the Internet, and is internationally recognized as an authority on TCP/IP protocols and Internet technologies.

Dr. Comer has written a series of best-selling technical books on Computer Networks, Internets, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture. His 3-volume Internetworking series is cited as an authoritative work on Internet protocols and technologies. Dr. Comer’s books have been translated into 16 languages, and are used in industry and academia in many countries.

Dr. Comer consults for industry, and has lectured to thousands of professional engineers and students around the world. For twenty years he was editor-in-chief of the journal Software – Practice and Experience. He is a Fellow of the ACM and the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Johna Till Johnson is CEO and Founder of Nemertes Research, where she sets research direction and works with strategic clients. Under her leadership, Nemertes has emerged as a leading trusted advisor to Fortune-50 and other world-class organizations. A widely regarded expert, Ms. Johnson currently serves as the content committee chair at the Wall St. Technology Association (WSTA), which provides technology guidance to some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated financial services firms. She regularly speaks at industry trade shows, conferences, and seminars, including Nemertes Navigator360, IDG’s FutureIT, ISC, and (WSTA). She writes regular columns on cybersecurity and IoT for TechTarget. Prior to founding Nemertes in 2002, Ms. Johnson served as chief technology officer (CTO) at Greenwich Technology Partners, a global consulting and engineering firm. Prior to that, she led the Global Networking Strategies Service business unit of META Group. Prior to that, as Senior Technology Editor she oversaw the lab-testing program at Data Communications magazine, providing testing and assessment of up to 16 emerging technologies per year. She also has designed and developed security, speech-synthesis, and free-space laser products at companies including Mosler Security Systems and Digitus Corp. Ms. Johnson holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering/computer science (BSEE/CS) from The Johns Hopkins University, has conducted graduate work in nuclear and particle physics at the University of Rochester, speaks three languages, and has published a science fiction novel. She is an avid urban kayaker and novice woodworker and candymaker.

Greg is the Co-Founder, Co-Host and Analyst at Packet Pushers Interactive LLC. Packet Pushers is the largest podcast globally on technology infrastructure delivering ~400K downloads per month to over 200,000 subscribers.

I survived 25 years of Corporate IT in many verticals and wide range of technology and experienced poor IT managers, low quality products, badly designed and deployed solution for the entire period. Yes, I’m bitter but generally got results.

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