As we enter the second year of the global remote-work experiment, companies and individuals alike are celebrating the benefits associated with remote-working.
Or are they?
Although firms are increasingly adopting some flexibility in their working model, not all businesses are happy with continuing as such in the post-pandemic world.
Numerous corporations appear less than optimistic. At a conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal, several chief executives aired their concerns regarding remote work, and how it would apply to the investment banking industry. Goldman Sachs’ Chief Executive David Salomon has described remote work as an “aberration'' for the American bank, and not reflective of their corporate culture. JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon was of a similar mind, claiming that “it doesn’t work for those who want to hustle [and] it doesn’t work for culture”.
Here at BOOQED, we’ve long embraced a remote-first model since our inception over four years ago. But as with all big changes, we do not expect the world to hop on-board without some pushback. A decision like this calls for some serious fact-checking - for individuals and corporations alike!
So, let us bust a couple of misconceptions surrounding remote work, and kickstart your decision-making process.
If there is anything that the past year has proven, it is that remote work does not kill productivity. In fact, not only are workers becoming more productive, today’s 9-to-5’s are looking more like 9-well into evening!
Yes, you read that right. People are working longer hours at home. And the statistics are here to show for it:
Atlassian, an Australian workspace software developer, analysed the log-in-log-out data of knowledge workers throughout the pandemic. This data spanning 65 countries concluded that employees were working well into their evenings as COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented.
What is so eye-opening, however, is that while employees have yet to find at-home balance, many are happier with WFH, an experience largely credited to reduced commutes and face-to-face meetings.
Even in the post-post-pandemic world, Bloomberg reports that US productivity is projected to increase by 5% due to increased WFH, as workers save on commute times.
With remote work yielding higher rates of productivity, slacking seems out of the question!
We often hear business workers describing remote work as a ‘threat’ to corporate culture. As mentioned above, high level executives from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan’s both reference culture when discussing remote-working setbacks for investment banks.
Admittedly, corporate unity across larger companies can be a problem. And while virtual corporate culture is a topic that deserves an article in itself, we want to make clear that:
Remote work should not be diluting corporate culture.
Corporate culture, much like any brand, should evolve alongside your company. And by creating a culture that can thrive remotely, your business creates a change that favours the digital future.
The way we see it, remote work is an opportunity to deepen your corporate culture. Why? Because despite the initial challenge, remote work favours productivity, and keeps your employees happy! Research by Mckinsey shows that the majority of knowledge workers hope that their firms adopt further flexibility within their business models.
So, if you want to keep your workers happy, and create a corporate culture to suit, it’s time to get creative! We advise that you consider your core values and spring from there. Explore how you can infuse your leadership message through virtual touchpoints, your onboarding process, amongst other areas.
Consider your virtual presence as an opportunity to learn, grow, and develop upon your positive working culture. And if you’re short on ideas, take some time to check out companies that have excelled at remote work.
Our company of choice? Gitlab is one we highly admire. The company’s Remote Manifesto premises their corporate culture, which celebrates flexibility from the bottom-up.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but this past year has busted this myth through-and-through!
Remote work is no longer a club exclusive to freelancers and startups. Firms across all industries and sectors are making this jump, from Big Tech-ers like IBM to insurers such as Prudential. Both firms have already discussed plans to pare down their physical footprint, and explore flexi-work models.
What we also seem to find in companies who celebrate remote work is their ability to gain access to top talent. Consider Ultimate Performance, a personal training company based in Hong Kong, whose CEO Nick Mitchell once said:
“It’s easy to say you want the very best, but if you insist on people being able to commute to the office, you’re really saying that you want the best – but within 20 minutes of X. Remote working lets us throw the talent net much wider”.
For companies that thrive as a result of their brilliant knowledge workers, why say ‘no’ to the best?
Let’s face it. Not all of us were designed for working from a cafe, let alone WFH. Aside from the distracting - and ridiculously noisy! - ambient sounds, as well as uncomfortable seating, cafes can be a tricky place to work. WFH is another challenge many remote workers face, especially for those with children or flatmates to consider. Trying to get things done at home can feel impossible sometimes.
Finding a physical, productive work zone is key, which is why our BOOQED app exists! We strive to offer the most effective working solutions, even for those looking for something non-committal.
So if you’re looking for something for an afternoon, an individual work pod, a corporate meeting room, whatever it may be - we have you covered. If you’re based in Hong Kong, mainland China or Singapore, please check out the BOOQED app for hundreds of workspace options, or feel free to contact us via our online web form for a more personalised solution!