Yeah, yeah, I know you feel political pressure to say that you support work flexibility. But I bet some of you old school folks out there are downright suspicious of those who work away from the office. I mean, what are those people (usually women) really doing when they should be working? Watching The View, painting their toenails in some shade of metallic blue, or doing loads of laundry?
Well, the Harvard Business Review Blog is shedding some light on the reaity of working remotely. And here's what the authors Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer find: Working from home is an indisputable morale booster for employees. And yes, employees who work from home can be more productive.
That said, HBR warns that working from home should have limitations. In fact, the authors take a rather conservative stance, advocating the following safeguards:
1. Mandatory face time—particularly "if the success of your company is largely dependent on the frequent exchange of novel ideas between workers." (I might also add that face time is absolutely necessary if you engage in the fine art of kissing up—something that's critical for career advancement.)
2. Limits on remote work. HBR says working remotely should be done in moderation. "Only the remote workers who spent less than 20% of their time working from home were more engaged; remote workers who spent almost all of their time working from home had the same level of engagement as on-site workers."
3. Being mindful that remote work can lead to distractions. The authors warn that in one survey, "a quarter of employees even admitted to having an alcoholic beverage while working from home."
I find the authors to be surprisingly uptight about remote work arrangements, even though they admit that most young professionals expect and demand flexibility these days. Arbitrarily limiting the amount of time people can work remotely seems a bit unproductive to me—though I suppose some jobs require group intereaction more than others. Frankly, I've never had a job where amazing ideas erupted from face-to-face group discussions—but what do I know? I've mainly worked with lawyers and journalists—pathetic, solipsistic souls who are not known for their collective genius.
But what I find strangely puritanical about the HBR piece is the authors' suggestion that working from home might lead to decadence. Remember, they cited a study that says 25 percent of employees admitted to taking a little nip!
As if that's a bad thing.
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