Why Are Bosses Against Remote Work?by@magfurulabeer
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Why Are Bosses Against Remote Work?

by AbeerMarch 31st, 2022
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“In the US, a whopping 72% of managers currently supervising remote workers would prefer all their subordinates to be in the office, according to recent research for the Society for Human Resource Management, seen by BBC Worklife in July.”

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This Slogging thread by Abeer, Sara Pinto, Mónica Freitas and Valerie E. occurred in slogging's official #startup-hustle channel, and has been edited for readability.

AbeerMar 7, 2022, 10:34 AM

What bosses really think about remote work

“In the US, a whopping 72% of managers currently supervising remote workers would prefer all their subordinates to be in the office, according to recent research for the Society for Human Resource Management, seen by BBC Worklife in July.”

“In Sweden, data-driven employee engagement firm Winningtemp, which serves clients in 25 countries, says it’s already noticing signs of a back-to-the-office push, particularly in markets where there are high levels of vaccinations.”

“Managing a remote team is harder. It demands new skill sets. And a lot of people were thrown into it unready,” adds Maya Middlemiss, an author on remote working based in Valencia, Spain. “So, it’s not surprising in a way that we’re having a backlash and people who didn’t adapt well to that from a management point of view would much rather have everybody back.”

“Aside from visibility, bosses championing a shift from remote working also tend to highlight the social and creative possibilities for office-based employees. For instance, ice-breaker chats by the water cooler, in-person inductions for new hires, team-building after-work drinks and spontaneous brainstorms.”

AbeerMar 7, 2022, 10:36 AM

What do you think of these bosses who are trying to get their workers back in the office asap? Are you pro-remote work? Are there any benefits to in-person office work that have been lost as the world shifted to remote work?

Mónica FreitasMar 8, 2022, 11:53 AM

Abeer is definitely pro-remote! I get that some people didn’t manage to adapt, but if you can’t, get someone who can help or have the training to adjust to the new circumstances. I don’t think people should be obligated to work from the office simply because companies can’t evolve and adapt. It should be an option. The difference here is that managers have to stop measuring productivity and work by the hours people spend inside an office and more by the results they’re getting.

AbeerMar 9, 2022, 6:46 AM

Mónica Freitas I agree! Adapt or get left behind.

I really like your last point about measuring productivity by the results rather than by the time spent at the office. I mean, at the end of the day, results are what matter, no?

Why do you believe so many managers and bosses care more about seeing someone put in hours rather than seeing the result of their work?

Mónica FreitasMar 9, 2022, 11:39 AM

Abeer I think many managers still operate under that notion of babysitting employees or micromanaging. It's that ridiculous idea that people can't be trusted with responsibilities or that you have to work in a kindergarten type environment where you always have to justify yourself and beg for permission for every little thing: being late for some reason, having a doctor's appointment, having to get off a bit early to pick up your kid, etc. You're not seen as a person but as someone who has to bend over backwards for the company no questions asked. I don't think most companies see their employees as an asset. They view them as replaceable.

No surprise some office environments are so depressing.

AbeerMar 16, 2022, 7:11 AM

Mónica Freitas That’s a great point. Most companies do view their employees as replaceable. So maybe this is an issue with companies’ pillars and philosophies rather than the individual managers 🤔

Sara PintoMar 8, 2022, 11:40 AM

Abeer, I'm pro-remote work. However, I haven't had office work experience yet. I do see where they are coming from. This remote work experience was forced on us (even though it brought benefits), and no one had time to prepare properly to deal with this.

And although it brought advantages, I can see how people, who were unprepared for remote work, wish to return to the office. There are cons as well, I believe the motivation and the dynamic aren't as easy to stimulate. I think each company, at this point, just have to find what suits them best

AbeerMar 9, 2022, 6:43 AM

Sara Pinto Agreed. It was definitely abrupt! Rather than a transition, we were forced to adapt to a black swan event.

Why do think motivation and the general dynamic are easier to stimulate in person?

Sara PintoMar 9, 2022, 12:21 PM

Abeer, well, I think in general, dealing with people can be easier face-to-face. But after all, I'm a lacking office experience. In my head, making a connection and receiving support only online can be trickier, and maybe expressing yourself can be more challenging. Even though work is not a playground, you end up creating relations with co-workers that may facilitate work in general

AbeerMar 16, 2022, 9:17 PM

The ‘ghost colleagues’ of the remote workplace

A 2021 Microsoft study of its own staff showed switching to remote work meant “employees didn’t just change who they worked with, but also how they worked with them”.

A 2021 survey by job-search site Indeed found that 73% of people missed socialising in person and 46% missed work-related side conversations that happen in the office. “There are people who utilise work for social aspects, and they like having those social interactions at work through their day,” says Simmy Grover, academic in organisational psychology at University College London.

The onus is also on companies to find better ways to translate in-person culture into the online space so that colleagues can continue to connect in meaningful ways. Good remote company communications may mean things like creating a newsletter, podcast or virtual town halls to share information workers may have otherwise absorbed in the office.

AbeerMar 16, 2022, 9:22 PM

So Sara Pinto, the exact thing you brought up seems to be a running issue. Working in an office gives you more chances to chat with your co-workers or grab lunch with them. Support is definitely harder to get online as well.

In which case, do you think hybrid work might be a decent option where it’s partially remote and partially in-office?

Sara PintoMar 17, 2022, 1:42 PM

Abeer, I think it could be a great option in many cases. I've met people who are in those situations and they've adapted pretty well, and actually enjoy going to the company to work. In my opinion, it greats a good balance: you can get the remote work benefits and you can have a good support system at work

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Valerie E.Mar 8, 2022, 4:01 PM

Sara Pinto I completely agree with you. No one size fits all and companies would have to look beyond the "noise" and focus what works best for their employees. I would like to think managers are generally more empathic towards a worker who is productive though. Perhaps, what managers are worried about is the challenge that comes with managing employees who are less self-driven or productive. Its more difficult to manage those kind of employees on a good day but WFH takes it to a whole new

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Sara PintoMar 9, 2022, 12:14 PM

Valerie E., exactly! Unfortunately, I think managers don't get that some can be more productive working remotely, and that's why end up forcing office work

AbeerMar 16, 2022, 9:24 PM

Valerie E. That’s a great point. Would say that it might be more worthwhile for managers to focus on ways to encourage and guide their employees to be more self-driven and productive then?

Valerie E.Mar 17, 2022, 7:07 AM

Abeer I believe its every employers dream to have a team of self driven, highly productive employees. The team is better of for it and it provides good grounds for the organization to be more successful. In reality, this is highly unlikely. The truth is there will employees (every now and then) who need to be closely monitored and sometimes whipped to shape to deliver on tasks. It's the job of managers (now more than ever before) to continuously nurture less productive employees until they arrive at that self propelling state.

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AbeerMar 18, 2022, 6:36 AM

Valerie E. Very nicely put. Hopefully, managers can start identifying who they need to nurture more and they can provide more autonomy to