Under the condition of anonymity, a friend admitted to me that he loved his new job but one factor frustrated him to no end. He explained that “99% of what I do at work could be done remotely, but I have to be in the office 100% of the time.
The details of this case are even more gut-wrenching than I can reveal. My friend has had a career of exceptional independence, where he has completed countless freelance projects without the overhead of an office. His new job for the mystery firm is one working in marketing and social media. Worst of all, the company is a hometown darling. They’ve been profiled over and over again as a great example of an innovative Indiana enterprise.
It’s not as if talking about telecommuting is anything new here at AccelaWork. We had five blog posts in Remote Work Week relating to worker productivity. We’ve predicted the telework revolution and how it will affect worker productivity. We’ve complained when journalists say that a four day work week is “weird news”, though it may positively affect workplace productivity. We constantly quote our own philosophy on workplace productivity, which is simply:
Please conduct your work wherever and whenever you feel you can be most productive, most efficient, most effective and most satisfied.
Why are we taking on the location of work as a battleground in productivity? Aren’t there more important factors like technology, management styles, or workflow design?
It’s true that all those can help. But none is particularly effective until you address the fundamental issue: empowering stakeholders to get work done. The office is usually a place where we manage to make progress despite the distractions, politics and constant monitoring. If we’re less worried about where employees are working and more focused on meaningful outcomes, productivity will rise. People will accomplish more, and those who can’t work without being micromanaged will end up elsewhere.
My friend’s employer needs to take notice. Stop demanding face time from your workers, as it is producing low employee satisfaction. And if they can get 99% of their work done from elsewhere, you’re probably making them less productive by controlling their hours. Work is about getting work done. Let people prove themselves through their results, not their obedience.