Enquirer Digest #0015 - The remote work discussion
Remote work has been talked about quite a bit in recent times; especially after Covid. Many companies were put under the spotlight because they were advocating for a return to the office. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, has expressed skepticism towards remote work. Mark Zuckerberg has stated that engineers are more productive in the office. Additionally, Google’s chief people officer informed employees that office attendance would impact performance reviews.
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Challenges of Remote work
Although this was the tendency on the executive's side, people are looking to remain remote or hybrid at worst. The many people I coach from US and Europe have brought this to the sessions as a drawback to their work when they were called into the office more than before. Apart from going into the office more days, remote work has its place among challenges leaders at all levels are facing. Some areas that I work on with my clients are how do I motivate my team? How do I instill trust or set boundaries with others?
When looking from the executive angle and from the employee angle the discussion seems to converge on the hybrid option. Executives, as mentioned above, believe that productivity is higher in the office, but are also aware that remote work is the preference of people. On the other hand employees feel the need to engage on a personal level with their colleagues. They are not looking for a fully remote solution either. So, both sides are coming to a balance it seems.
Working on the "remote work" challenge has led me to two recent sources. I like them both as they are both research based. The first one is a podcast "Coaching for Leaders" Podcast hosted by Dave Stachowiak.
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The second resource is the HBR article recently published. Scroll down below for their links.
According to HBR article the research from Survey of business Uncertainty remote and hybrid work are expected to grow in the coming 5 years. Although there are a couple of reasons why remote work is increasing, on of the reasons that caught my attention is that people prefer it.
Research does suggest that fully remote work is slightly less productive but is cheaper.
But it's not just about where the people will work but also about how this will be managed. Leadership has to manage the process well. According to Gallup research in my opinion the critical findings are as follows:
Organizations need to consider individual preferences and collaboration needs when implementing hybrid work models.
Smart autonomy, where employees have the freedom to work in a way that suits them best, while considering the needs of their colleagues and customers, is crucial for maintaining engagement and productivity.
The most engaged teams were the ones that worked out their hybrid working arrangements with their teams.
Managers should have regular conversations with employees to understand their productivity patterns and work-life preferences.
Meaningful conversations with managers lead to higher engagement levels.
Managers account for 70% of the variance in team engagement.
The quality of interaction is more important than the time spent. Shorter discussions that focus on recognition, goals, and strengths can have a greater impact than longer ones that do not.
I believe that the main takeaway should be the that leaders and managers do need to have the right kind of conversations with their people. This is effective both on an individual level and at the team level.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that having authentic and meaningful conversations with people can have the best impact.
Fortunately, we have this kind of research to remember the fundamentals.
In relation to this week’s subject the podcasts to listen to is:
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Today's article is from HBR Remote work isn't going away
"The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought and attended to my answer." - Henry David Thoreau