Last week, Musk wrote a letter to his employees, telling them to return to the office 40 hours a week. Evidence to the contrary is overwhelming and many CEOs still believe that company culture is achieved when people are together.
Productivity and work enjoyment can be increased when remote work is done correctly. Many people have experienced professional and personal growth. Many employees don’t want to go back to the office. A majority of people say they would rather quit their current job than lose the ability to work remotely.
Why do so many leaders resist remote work and force their employees to come back to the office? I reached out to the author of the new book, remote not distant, to answer the questions.
Over the last few months, Razzetti has spent a lot of time interviewing senior executives about this. According to the recurring theme, most CEOs believe that their workplace culture has suffered during the Pandemic and that it is impossible to keep it alive remotely. Senior leaders still believe that culture only happens in the office, requiring employees to see each other and have casual chats. Razzetti doesn’t think these elements are enough to bring people back into the office full time.
Razzetti thinks that the resistance is based on cognitive biases. On the other hand, the safety bias makes executives worry about remote work. Executives stay anchored to their past experiences and information, which is promoted by the anchoring bias.
According to Razzetti, most leaders use visibility as a key performance indicator to measure their productivity. Many leaders feel powerless in a hybrid workplace and miss being in control. It’s natural for CEOs to feel lost, but letting go of control is vital to discovering the upside of a hybrid workplace. The opportunity to increase connection, collaboration and agility is not an obstacle.
A spectrum is not just one size fits all.
The importance of leaders to understand is outlined in Razzetti’s new book.
There is a spectrum that is not one-size-fits-all. There are companies that only allow people to show up for three days a week and others that only allow people to show up one day a week. defining the model that best fits their teams is what he proposes.
There are some basic types of work models.
Either remote-friendly or office-first.
The hybrid or buckets are fixed.
Some days are partly remote or collaboration.
A hybrid or flexible schedule is possible.
There are two ways to say remote-first or virtual-first.
All remote and location-flexible decisions should be decided by teams to garner full buy-in. It pays to keep team rules simple and flexible and include team members in writing their code of conduct regardless of which option an organization adopts.
Focus on impact.
In the past, organizations have rewarded input over the outcome. Employees who work late, send a lot of emails, or are always in meetings are viewed as hard-working, committed team players.
He suggests that organizations can benefit by changing their focus to impact and away from traditional input measures. Rewarding presenteeism or long hours is a bad idea. Evaluate people based on their goals and results, not on things like how late they stay in the office or how many calls they attend.
The impact you want to create in the world is the most significant outcome that Razzetti recommends having a team purpose for. People want to be involved in something bigger than themselves. They want to leave a mark on the world. A purpose is more important than ever. People who don’t feel their work contributes to their company’s purpose are six times more likely to quit their job than peers who do.
If you want your employees to be productive, focus on the impact you want to create.
Building culture takes a lot of work.
Building and maintaining culture takes work, whether the organization is remote first or remote friendly. Defining a clear mission, outlining values and helping employees understand how their work contributes to this world are some of the things it requires. Razzetti said, “You don’t need an office to feel like you’re part of a team.”