It’s Not So Much a Trend as It Is Something that Happened a Lot.
These Letters from Home Office have been focused on productivity for people working at home or in non-traditional offices (I’m talking to the person who sits at a table at Panera Bread to make a conference call on her speakerphone). But it is a good time to point to some trends regarding home/remote workers. A Gallup Poll indicates the number of people working more that 80% of their time remotely has gone from 24% to 31% from 2012 to 2016 (Why Remote Workers are Being Called Back into the Office, by Jacob Passy in Market Watch). However, the same article notes that many large and small companies are pulling their employees back to the office citing productivity decline, dilution of company culture, technical challenges and other issues.
Like so many other trends that seemed inevitable, the concept of remote workers is at least pausing for a moment. That’s okay; I don’t have an iPod anymore either.
As we have pointed out in previous posts, the goal of the remote worker must be to simulate the same impact as an on-site worker. It is difficult to compensate for face time that a colleague in the office gets with co-workers or management. When it comes time for promotions, the remote worker may need to shine a little brighter on paper to compensate for the fact that a manager might not want to face a candidate every day that didn’t get the job. If you enjoy working at home, you might have to sell your value differently. Management has competition for its investment in people and infrastructure. You need to make it evident that the savings in real estate, travel, off-hours productivity, and other expenses aren’t offset by a perception of weakened comradery or upward mobility.
More and more companies may be considering a return to the office, but in all likelihood, there won’t be an ironclad, one size fits all approach. So while you might not be able to influence a corporate shift, you could prove to be a valuable exception to the rule.
Peter is married with 3 children and published his first book in 2012. Peter has been with Unify for over 20 years, currently as Vice President – Inside Sales and Sales Support for North America.