The shades of remote work

Fake dilemmas make the world flat.

To make decisions that are not impulsive and destructive, we need to be able to add shades (and data) in between the dichotomy.

Some shades regarding remote work from three recent studies: The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers; The Blinkered Boss: How Has Managerial Behavior Changed with the Shift to Virtual Working?; Work from Home & Productivity: Evidence from Personnel & Analytics Data on IT Professionals.

  • Remote work, when extended to the whole company, reduces the opportunities and the willingness to connect with people who are not directly working with you.
  • Hybrid work should probably not be about coming to the office whenever someone wants, but rather about organizing days in which certain teams, or the whole company, goes to the office.
  • Remote work does improve the individual’s capacity to focus and reflect, does improve the individual’s capacity to deliver on their own tasks, and has a negative impact on aspects of work that are relational or people-based (e.g., understanding and motivating others, or dealing with difficult situations).
  • Just because productivity does not take a hit from remote work, it doesn’t mean that individual productivity has not decreased. People might be simply putting in more hours, for example because they have to attend more meetings or because they have a stressful situation at home.
  • Remote work does decrease the opportunity for interaction with supervisors, and in particular the opportunities to get coached by one’s supervisor.

Note: thanks Ethan Mollick for sharing the studies in the first place.

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