Remote working was a rare option before Covid19. As the pandemic brought worldwide lockdowns, working from home became essential to corporate survival. As the Pandemic is declared over in most parts of the globe, business is looking to return to traditional office-based working.
This push of many businesses to end home working has been resisted, if not rejected, by many employees.
Of course, if you live and work in a smaller community or in your immediate neighbourhood, this is less of a controversy. A 10-minute walk to your local high street or main street fits nicely into most lifestyles. If, however, you live in a major city like London or New York your commute may easily be 90 to 120 minutes each way – basically don’t have a life.
With lockdown hundreds of millions of workers discovered what work/life balance actually means and are reluctant to return to the grind of the daily commute.
Some companies have embraced the change and moved to hybrid models or even permanently reduced and renovated office space that supports flexible working.
But not all businesses are on board
A major survey from Microsoft shows bosses and workers fundamentally disagree about productivity when working from home. In the survey 87% of workers feel they are more productive working at home, 80% of managers disagree.
Another factor to consider is with the worldwide shortage of top talent, the option of allowing workers to be remote can be a valuable incentive to recruit the best. Remote working has value to potential employees.
What’s the solution?
The answer has always been available to business, it just takes a bit of trust and better productivity measurement.
For salespeople nothing is new about being ‘field based’. Working as a regional salesperson for a company located hundreds and even thousands of miles away has always required remote working and management.
How do companies make remote working work? Managers need to commit to Key Productivity Indicators (KPIs) or Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Businesses need to decide what productivity an employee actually delivers is worth. In other words, business needs to measure and pay productivity. Does paying managers to watch people work deliver productivity?
If salaries are a mix of base plus measurable performance, desired activity can be measure, managed and encouraged.
If a company can set expectations, measure performance, and incentivize results any worker can be managed at a distance. Instant messaging platforms along with video conferencing can deal with most communication very well. SaaS solutions have removed the distance barrier and security risks. Combined with regular in office meetings and the essential bonding can be effectively delivered.
Are you more productive working a home? Is it even an option you want? Do you trust your employees? Are you able to measure performance?
Are we at the edge of a change in the way we work or on our way back to business as usual? Share your opinion in comments.