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Publication Title | Remote Work: Navigating the Flexible Workplace

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The desire to work remotely can lead to working more. According to
The Human Face of Remote Work, 56% of workers fear they might
end up working longer hours at home compared to onsite. 44%
worry about the ability to build close co-worker relationships, and
34% worry they won’t get as much face time with their boss and
therefore may be overlooked for a promotion. (FIGURE 5) Others
just can’t see their best efforts coming forth from the comfort
of their home. Remote work is clearly not for everyone, but for
those who desire to work remotely, research points to strong and
thriving results. One of the ways to combat these barriers is to
provide both managers and employees with training on how to
be successful as a remote worker and guidelines for managing
remote workers; 62% of workers said they should be provided with
easy to use technology that connects them to colleagues, and 53% said HR should provide guidelines on how to manage flexible working.
When Remote Working Doesn’t Work
The discussion surrounding remote work does contain conflicting sides. For example, while the C-Trip study we mentioned suggests that letting call center employees work from home made them more productive, there are other studies that suggest that proximity actually boosts productivity. The truth is that there is no concrete answer, and the effectiveness of remote work can often vary from role to role. In a recent article from The Atlantic, the extreme example of the cockpit of a Boeing 727 was used as an example of the power of working closely together. With such a close and forced proximity, very little communication is needed between pilots to reach a shared understanding and solution for potential problems. The discussion of remote working needs to start from the business perspective, examining the roles of individual workers and determining what roles can be accomplished remotely. For example, if you are a member of a team that is ideating new solutions over the next six months, you might all need to be together in one workspace. But once you complete that phase of the project your role may now require individual focused research work, and working remotely may work best. Bottom line: rather than issue a mandate, companies consider the business role and the objectives of the role to make the best determination on where and how work gets done.

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