One of the many things this pandemic has revealed: Managers who once insisted that remote work would never work for their organizations were wrong. It can work. It already has.
Whenever this is over, many organizations will just march everyone back to headquarters as soon as possible. But doing so means missing an opportunity to rethink things — and to realize that remote work doesn’t need to be an either/or decision.
Indeed, many people in jobs that allow for it do best working a few days per week in the office and a few days remotely. A Gallup survey published earlier this year found that employees were most engaged when they worked off-site 60% to 80% of the time. This translates to working in the office just one or two days per week.
Interestingly, Gallup reports that these mostly remote workers were “the most likely of all employees to strongly agree that their engagement needs related to development and relationships are being met.” And these folks were also the most likely of all employees to “strongly agree that someone at work cares about them as a person, encourages their development, and has talked to them about their progress.”
It’s not that remote work magically solves all problems. And it certainly adds a different set of challenges. Managers often have to plan workflow and development more mindfully when they can’t just walk across the room to talk to a worker. Teams have to plan in-office days focused on productive collaboration and at-home days on individual deliverables. And, of course, some people crave the bustle and social interaction of the office or don’t have home setups that are conducive to work.
But given the responsibilities that many of us juggle, the hatred many people have for their commutes, and the fact that many people perform better when they’re away from the distractions of an office, changing up policies to allow frequent remote work seems like a win.