Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, one issue that has been at the top since then is the frequent comparison between the old pattern of work and the new one. These comparisons that are continuously being drawn out have started to look not so great. Last November, Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, one of our generation’s great “disruptors,” called working remotely “a complete negative.” Hastings has been urging that people need to return to the workplace while not having one himself. His critique of distant employment is that “not being able to come together in person” is unpleasant.
Before these business leaders rant out how everyone should be back in the workspace, they should rather ask themselves a few questions regarding the mode they work in. Do these questions include how much time was spent by you in the office before March 2020? How frequently did you interact with the team? Do you own office space for yourself? Is your company witnessing losses due to remote work?; once these questions have been answered in detail, you are good to decide how the remote work culture is proving for you and your company.
The most ironic thing about this whole debate is that the people who are advocating for the employees to return to the office are the ones who are at such high authority that they merely visit the office.
The major worry for those advocating the return is that they, over the years, have created such a big kingdom-like infrastructure and have recruited such a huge number of people that they worry about all these things. For example, very recently, the parent company of Google, Alphabet, set out to bring back its employees to the office. In which it was taking place was uneven, it has more than 130,000 employees. The plan is set to work so that the workers are required to return to the office shortly. The schedule is; three days a week, at the same time, there’s a provision according to which a few can continue working entirely from home. As per the information out there, one of the company’s senior executives has been permitted to work online from New Zealand.
The online mode of working indeed exposes numerous shortcomings, and the leaders of the companies are least willing to sort those matters out maybe because they don’ want to take upon the extra work for those they have recruited to work for ‘them’. This virtual method of working is something that benefits those who bring brownie points for the company but at the same time decreases the power of those who in office were good diplomats but bad workers.
The thing about remote work is that it takes away the opportunity from many to appear working while they are doing nothing but wasting time and exposes all those who may not contribute as leaders and managers. It is mostly the blue-collar jobs that can’t work remotely because how can you serve juices and clean the dishes online? But if you are someone whose work merely included sitting in the front of a PC and minding their business by working on that device, remote working hasn’t affected anything. Because, to be honest, the office is just for interpersonal meetings and to make plans after work, remote work has just eliminated that part of one’s work-life other than that, everything has stayed the same.
Typically, all those firms which had no or very little relation to the physical work have become more successful in the virtual mode due to the cloud-based production tools. If we talk precisely, this has given the office a shape of nothing but another space with internet access. There were so many who said that the online mode wouldn’t work in the longer phrase, but since it’s still ongoing and that too quite well, they are making statements like “office will be missed.”
This pandemic isn’t over yet. With the newer and more deadly mutations, it is quite risky for people to be out there between so many people. Because at many people’s homes, children and older adults live, who might be prone to getting the disease; the question here is, is it worth risking the lives of loved ones? According to several studies, people prefer the online mode because of the many perks that come attached to it. People are now being assessed for the real work rather than being judged for the analytics that determines the performance in the in-person work culture. Employees are now free from distractions and, of course, travelling! The good work is reflecting.
Some so many people fear this work mode because their work was merely being diplomatic. The ones in the position of authority can’t take credit for someone else’s work. Still, since people are being judged for their work, it may be a nightmare for those who have survived in the field by just being nice to someone. Now work counts more; if you are an asset to the company, you are safe. Let’s consider a workplace with incredible employees who are working hard enough that the company has been able to keep up its pace even in the pandemic through the online mode. Why would it then be necessary to come to the office? What would be a significant argument other than the excuse “I like seeing people in person?” The online mode might be difficult for luring your employees to work overtime, but other than that, where does it lag? That is a question that the leaders advocating “return to the office” should answer in detail.