Since I worked remotely before COVID-19, I’ve been saying this for awhile now. The so-called problems with remote work are mostly just the inability to adjust the processes that worked in an office to a new reality.
But remote work itself is not the problem. The problem is that, though most office workers are currently working from home, the way we work is still inherently office-centric. For the past nine months, my team and I have been researching how maintaining this way of working in a remote environment is actually what is causing significant damage to employees. It’s never a good idea to force a square peg into a round hole. In today’s context, office-centric work is a square peg and the remote environment is a round hole.
Most things that I hear managers and CEO’s complain about remote working, like how their team feels disconnected, or suffers from “Zoom fatigue”, or might not be spending every minute of the 9-5 working for the company, are things that should have been true for those of us who worked remotely prior to 2020, but it wasn’t true.
When you design, and manage, for remote work, instead of forcing everyone to be in more meaningless meetings just so you can “see” them, or track their activities every minute of the day, these issues don’t exist. Employees are trusted to figure out the best way to get their work done, how to be available when they need to be, while still having the flexibility to do what they need to do. Managers measure success by work accomplished, projects finished on time, etc. instead of butts in seats.
If there are any frustrations with remote work, as the article below says, it’s not remote work that is the problem, it is not adjusting. That lack of flexibility, and lack of trust in employees tells me a lot more about the managers and CEOs than it says about remote work.