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Building relationships and taking in-person meetings have traditionally been quintessential actions for merger and acquisition dealmakers. Dealmakers normally focus their time on one-on-one meetings across different cities, as well as attending conferences, dining out, and engaging in bonding activities. Now, with quarantines and common sense arguing against face-to-face meetings, how do we build the trust and confidence necessary to do a deal?

Individuals in a myriad of industries, job functions, and levels worked from home long before the pandemic, facilitated by technological innovations that make remote work possible. Then, in 2013, working from home became a lightning rod of controversy when Yahoo! CEO Melissa Mayer decreed that remote workers would have to be in the office working side-by-side to deliver the best communication and collaboration. Her memo to all employees said, “The best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.”

When the COVID-19 global pandemic hit the United States in 2020, however, Silicon Valley and Seattle giants—Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter—were the first to send their employees home. Now, as the pandemic in the U.S. persists, these same tech giants may be among the last to return them to the office. Some of their employees may never return.

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