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: “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.
On the off-chance all the articles we’ve posted on this subject aren’t enough proof for you, check out some tips from The Muse:
You Can Learn More and Become More Independent
Because you don’t have colleagues just a few feet away or a tech team one floor down, you’ll find yourself developing the skill of looking for your own answers and becoming more proactive to find what you need on your own. Of course you can still ask questions and get help if you need to. But, a lot of the time, you can do a Google search, download a free guide, or check out your company’s wiki to find the answer yourself just as quickly.
You Can Keep in Touch More Effectively
Because you don’t have everyone physically around you all the time, you become much more aware of the importance of keeping in touch. Instead of just knowing that you can pop around the corner to chat with Rena about the site redesign whenever you like, you know that you need to write her or at least have a video chat. So, either in the process of composing your message or planning the meeting, you’ll refine your thoughts and questions and end up saving time for both of you when you do have that discussion.
You Can Stay More Focused
With some willpower and a steady routine, you’ll soon learn to avoid being distracted by the TV or your next load of laundry. And, in fact, you should find yourself getting more done when you work remotely. That’s because you can control your working situation much more—you don’t have to worry about co-workers stopping by to “just ask a quick question” (and 20 minutes later…), obligatory socializing when you grab more coffee, or offending someone by shutting the door to your office. When you’re remote and need to really concentrate, you can just change your status in the group chat to “do not disturb” and buckle down.
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.