- On April 3, 2021
The US economy is “roaring back!” As employers added close to a million jobs last month, they are now thinking about how to return employees to the office. I appreciated Microsoft’s thoughtful study on remote work. On the one hand, 61% of leaders believe people are “thriving” and see “high productivity,” but on the other, non-managers are markedly less satisfied and exhausted. Other pitfalls of continued remote work include work teams being siloed and continued disengagement of Gen Z.
How should you think about returning to work? Some factors raised by the Wall Street Journal:
- Who else is going back? If some but not all people are back, those in person benefit from being there to make decisions, especially important ones made quickly. People there also get up-to-date information about events and expectations. In contrast, studies have shown remote workers can be less respected and viewed as less committed.
- Do I want to be promoted? Studies have shown remote workers are promoted at less than 50% of the rate of in-person workers even if their work performance is the same as peers. Managers may not see how many hours remote workers are putting in compared to the ones in the office. Managers also attribute positive personality traits to in-person employees more often. A final factor to consider: managing perceptions is harder when working remotely. It’s difficult to signal dedication constantly!
- Will I miss in-person interaction? Remote work can lead to feelings of isolation. Also, the more an employee works remotely, the worse their relationships can be with co-workers.
- Who is managing me? For complicated projects, having experienced managers is important because they can anticipate and help solve problems, especially those relating to freeing up resources and convincing stakeholders.
- How explicit is your company about managing remote work? It’s best if your company is clear about how they are measuring performance.
Currently only a small percentage of employers say they are requiring all employees to return to the office, and in fact a third say a large portion of employees will be primarily remote. But if you are given a choice, it’s good to make an informed decision.