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It’s Almost As If Remote Work Keeps Getting Better While Office Work Keeps Getting Worse

Hmm.

The myth that remote work stifles innovation and creativity is gaining ground–but the same evidence shows that it was only true in the pre-2010s workplace.

From the article, a deeper look at the statistics coming from the mega study, which showed, on average, that remote work was less innovative and productive:

Analyzing trends from the 1980s to the present, the data reveals a fascinating trend: the previously wide chasm between the innovative outputs of in-person and remote teams has been steadily narrowing. The 1980s marked the debut of the first scientific remote collaboration platform. Back then, the data hinted at a somewhat bleak picture for distributed teams: they faced a 5% innovation deficit compared to their in-person counterparts. It was as if remote collaboration carried an invisible tax on creativity and breakthroughs.

As we fast-forward to the dawn of the new millennium, the landscape begins to shift. Between 2000 and 2010, this innovation gap starts to shrink dramatically, dwindling to a mere 1%.

But the real plot twist emerges post-2015. The previously negative coefficient, a marker of the remote work disadvantage, not only zeroes out but takes a surprising leap into positive territory. It’s a remarkable turnaround, a testament to the evolving efficacy of remote collaboration. This shift illustrates that distributed teams are no longer just catching up–they are paving new paths in innovation, rewriting the rules of collaborative creativity.

Now, I’m not going to even argue that remote work is better and helps people be more productive and innovative because you already know where I stand on that issue. Let me just throw this out there instead. When your workforce is remote, you widen the pool of people who can work for you and want to work for you. That wider candidate pool invites more talented people to come to work for you, and talented people will find their own ways to be productive and innovative.

It’s that simple. And the research your CEO is using to argue that everyone needs to be in the office backs it up. Forcing everyone into the office is contradictory to an innovative team.

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