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Why Remote Work, Well, Works

Here’s the thing: we’ve been fully remote since the inception of our company.

So let’s talk for a moment about remote work.

You can’t scroll through your newsfeed (on any platform) without seeing an opinion piece about WFH or about a company that did (or didn’t) make its employees come back to the office.

Every industry and every business has unique needs. That’s not something up for debate. Some people like remote work, some don’t. Some prefer a hybrid approach. There’s a world of options out there for, quite literally, a world of different people with different preferences and circumstances. And that’s totally fine.

But it’s important to note that one of the MAJOR objections to offering employees WFH options (when they are truly possible in your industry and for your company) is the loss of control. This may be a stated or unstated objection, but it is all too common.

If you’re a business owner or a manager, it can be hard to see it in terms that are so blunt. But in reality, that’s what’s happening.

Concerns About Remote Work

Do you feel like you won’t know what your team is doing if your can’t poke your head over their shoulders every hour or so?

Do you wonder how you’ll stay connected as a team without being physically located in the same place?

Do you worry that people won’t log on when they should, will lose interest, and will stop taking ownership of their work?

It’s possible. I’ve had team members do all of those things. But they have done them both remotely and when I managed teams in person, back in a previous life in other roles. The location of their desk had nothing to do with it.

The Truth About Remote Work

The truth of the matter is this:

-An employee who isn’t a good fit won’t be a good fit whether they are working in your flagship location at a desk right in front of you or from their home office.

-A manager or owner with control issues will never see the value of WFH or hybrid workplace culture, because it doesn’t suit their management style.

If you’re a manager who can’t fathom having your team work from home, especially in a B2B, service-based industry, do your part and think through your objections. Is hybrid work really something to be afraid of, provided you have the right team?

I would argue with the right employees, the work arrangements don’t matter. The benefits to your bottom line, to the environment, and to the mental health and job satisfaction of your employees far outweigh any work you might need to do internally to prepare to give up a little bit of control.

With the wrong employees, WFH won’t succeed. But in-person arrangements might not, either. A bad fit is a bad fit.

It’s time to stop associating working from home with laziness or “not working.” I’ve worked from home full-time for 5 years, building a business from the ground up. I didn’t need anyone looking over my shoulder or calling the shots.

Can it be distracting to work in the same place you cook, clean, and relax? Sure. Are there ways to avoid those distractions? Of course.

Furthermore, the distractions at home are easier to control and remove. I get more done in half a work day than I ever, ever did working in an office outside the home. The water cooler talk, unnecessary meetings, and coworkers in my peripheral vision caused far more interruptions than anything at home.

With half a day’s time bought back, I can easily get double the work done. And when I need an afternoon off to go to the doctor, run to the grocery store, or just take a walk, I can do that, too.

The internet is filled with opinions about remote and hybrid work, but I would ask you to consider mine, too. When it comes to giving remote work a try, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Returning to “normal” simply because your perception of a public health threat has changed is not a good enough reason. The fact that your company owns a building and you need to show that staff are setting foot inside to make your numbers look good is not a good enough reason.

Feeling like you can’t control your team if they’re located elsewhere signals an issue with you as a manager or with the team you’ve built. Neither of those are good enough reasons to assume you or your business are immune to sweeping, widespread change.

When the mindset of the collective labor force and landscape of the entire economy has shifted in such a powerful way, there’s no point in scrambling to put everything back just the way it was. You absolutely are going to be left behind.

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