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Linked: Biggest work from home mistakes: Harvard Business School remote guru

There is a lot to consider in the article below, but this, I think, really gets at the core of the struggle for remote working:

““Rewarding people who come early and leave late is a habit to break,” Sijbrandij said. “Same as ‘brb, getting coffee.’ We don’t care when you are working. We care about output and we’re very meticulous about measuring that,” he said, noting that GitLab has hundreds of indicators it tracks, but hours punching in and out are not among them. “We reward results, not time in seat,” he said.”

As you read the rest of the article, you’ll see comments about how a hybrid model can go badly, and how having all of the C-Level executives in the office all of the time sends the wrong message to a company that says it supports remote workers.

Both of those are true, but I suspect they are true because those situations make it far too easy to slide right back into measuring what you can see – time in seats.

I know Sally is working hard, she’s in the office early every day, eats lunch at her desk, and often stays late. Joe wants the CEO to notice how much he’s been working, so he starts spending more time in the office, doing the same kinds of things.

Meanwhile that new expert you hired across the country seems to do good work, but you don’t know how hard he’s really working…

If you focused on output, the amount and quality of work done, none of that matters. But it takes work to do that. It takes finding the right metrics, beyond hours worked. Even in an industry like mine, where hours worked are tracked per project, as part of the project budget, completing projects in less time, should be a good thing. If I don’t work 50-60 hours per week, but still complete the same amount of work that Joe and Sally take 60 hours per week to do, that makes me a more valuable employee, not a less dedicated one.

But, it’s not what most companies, and leaders, see. And that’s going to hamper your remote work efforts, which, as the article also points out, means you will only be able to attract a very limited amount of talent, whereas companies who do get to work on making this work correctly, will be able to hire anyone, anywhere.

Which talent pool would you rather have access to?

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