Working remotely is not a new concept, but with the lockdowns and need for social distancing associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is something that more employees has had access to in recent years. The opportunity to avoid long commutes to work and have a bit more control over their time has enticed many employees, encouraging them to opt, at the very least, for a more hybrid work week. Remote work seems to be the future of work — so why are so many employers making the call for employees to come back to the office? In this article we’re questioning (and answering) the reason for the attempted reversal of the remote movement.
They Weren’t Ready
While most employees are more than capable of doing their work remotely, chances are that management has not been trained to manage a remote team effectively. Surveys have shown that productivity among remote workers were up by 20 to 25 percent during the pandemic. Other surveys showed that a large percentage of management have been finding it difficult to manage their remote teams during that time.
That being said, while increased productivity is definitely a good thing, management wants to be able to, well… manage. To do that, they need a proper system in place to be able to gauge just how much their team is actually capable of doing within the 8-hour day.
Many employees have also opted instead for a hybrid model of working, which may be more of a logistical nightmare for some in management. This translates to more work for them because they need to consider the varying schedules of each employee to efficiently keep the company running.
No Control Over Employees
We’ve already made the point that management is unaware of how an employee is actually spending their 8 hours at home. For all they know, the employee could have finished their tasks within 3 hours and spent the next 5 hours slacking off. If they’re really serious about knowing, they may put measures in place to monitor their employee’s movement through webcams or system-monitoring programs. That’s creepy.
Employers benefit a lot from the amount of control they have over their employees. For one, they can get the work they want out of them whenever they need it. There’s maybe even a better chance that having employees under their nose will hinder them from seeking employment with another competitor.
Lack Of Collaboration
Let’s face it, it is much less likely that you’ll seek out colleagues to communicate with while working remotely. One strategy a lot of remote workers use is to check their messages twice a day but think of how many times you spoke with Harry in the office while you were both on site. You’ve probably lost count of all the different interactions you had — planned and by chance — throughout the day.
Collaboration is key when solving problems as a team and remote work can negatively affect that.
Remote work has changed the way we work. For many businesses, their company culture relies on the way their employees come together to complete their tasks. When the workplace becomes digital, it changes the way employees are able to interact and thus affects the underlying culture of the company.
Company beliefs and values are communicated, both to employees and to clients, with the visible culture. A change in how things are done threatens that and this makes it a lot more difficult for employers to set their company apart because there may be a disconnect in the culture.
This is the final point and it’s a big one. The buildings and office spaces a company provides for its workers cost a lot of money. On top of that, many of these larger companies have previously put huge effort into ensuring their offices and campuses have loads of amenities to keep employees comfortable and happy. With an investment like that, what can they do with it once people are no longer filling the halls? On paper it will seem like they invested a lot of money in something that is completely useless and therefore the first reaction is to get people back in the office.
Companies really do have a few valid concerns when it comes to working remotely. If any of these points is the reason for the reluctance to go remote, let’s look at a few possible solutions.
- If you aren’t ready, get trained and get ready. In any other aspect of your job, not knowing is not an excuse, especially with the vast number of strategists and coaches out there.
- If you are concerned about employees slacking firstly, make sure you have the right people for the job and that they’re motivated to do the work. Then provide the team with solid remote work policies that help them understand the expectations.
- If there is a lack of collaboration, consider adopting a hybrid model or strategically set up meetings during the day that are focused on creating moments for this.
- Concerned about company culture? Think about how you can adapt your company culture to the current world situation.
- If you have expensive real estate, consider subleasing or otherwise reusing the space. There are still tons of companies and businesses that still have to operate out of an office and would love to use your well-established location.
The idea of remote work is now on the minds of many people. In order to attract new talent, you need to make your offer attractive and competitive in the current market. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely attracted to the idea of working remotely.
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