September 2, 2020

Though the number of people working partially or fully remote has been on the rise for years now, however the Covid-19 pandemic made everyone join the trend.

Research suggests that companies can save money, boost morale and attract top candidates by offering work from home options. Unfortunately, the ground reality seems to be completely different. With long working hours, more virtual meetings and blurred lines between work and personal life, it’s been found in a survey conducted by Forbes that a majority of employees do not like working from home.

Here are some reasons why working from home isn’t feasible in the long run and we might need to return to offices soon:

Reduced team cohesiveness

In most companies, there is no proper training for supervisors to manage and monitor remote workers and hence, they find it easier to manage someone face-to-face. According to a study outlined in Harvard Business Review, only 46% managers checked in regularly with their team members. Not only that, in a data study by Microsoft 70% employees feel that the number of shorter meetings during the day has increased and results in a burnout.

Although many video collaboration services such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or others are a great alternative it can’t create a similar connection as a face-to-face meeting does. It creates a lag in brainstorming sessions and affects team morale as well.

Lack of focus

Most of the studies claim that working remotely has surged employees productivity and focus. However, managers have an entirely different set of observations to share.

Majority of managers have seen a drastic downfall in employee productivity and focus. Lack of motivation or too many distractions while working from home are found to be the biggest reasons for lower productivity. Not being able to collaborate effectively with the team or operations not being clear among team members has also contributed to a lack of focus among employees.

Barriers to implementing a remote work policy

If you look into the policies and procedures of companies that have a remote workforce, it’s not just a change of a few policies. Their entire business dynamics is different and its communications, recruiting, planning, meetings, prioritizations function in a different procedure as well.

According to IWG remote workspace study, over 50% companies don’t have any flexible or remote workplace policies since they believe it might clash with their “long standing company policies”. Changing complex procedures which employees are well-versed is challenging and is often met with an attitude of resistance to change.

Maintaining company culture

Every company has a set of values and behaviors they want their employees to reflect. Often these are implicit and unwritten. It becomes a very handy job to keep the company culture intact in teams when operations are being handled remotely. This might create divisions between employees and often can lead to decrease in morale and productivity.

As the economy slowly begins to reopen, it remains to be seen whether or not Covid-19 leaves behind the work from home trend. Either way, most companies should thoroughly consider all aspects of the trend before taking a decision.

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