@Luigi Sille my manager is in Arizona, my colleagues are in Wisconsin and Arizona, and my office is in Minnesota. I'm more productive sitting in my living room. Every situation is different. Working remotely saves me time that I can choose to put back into my home or work life depending on the day.
I think this is a hot topic right now as businesses come back from the pandemic and many employees have been working remotely for over 2 years. This is definitely going to vary from person to person though. Remote work isn't for everyone, and I actually had trouble transitioning in the beginning because I am not the type of person that is at home much. However, as the pandemic went on, I set up my home office, and we settled into a new normal. I am now able to do most of my primary work functions at home. Nonetheless, there have been challenges as well. Though we utilized Teams for chat and Teams/Zoom for meetings, there were a lot of back and forth chats that needed to happen, and some things were lost in translation. This is frustrating when you know a single in person conversation could have resolved this much quicker. Additionally, we have people who are fully remote who have asked to come on site a couple days a week just so they can interact with the team, so these in person interactions can be very important to some. I think as we continue to move forward, companies will need to adapt/adjust to this new hybrid life to allow the flexibility of remote work while balancing the benefits of some in person work/interactions.
@Aimee Siegler good point. I'm in a similar situation. I live in NJ, my employer is based in FL, and our client is in VA. My consulting team has people from all over the USA.
More than that, however, I think the original posting makes claims about in-person work that simply are not credible. As one example: how is it better for work-life balance, and how does it improve physical and mental health? If one wishes to make such a claim, one should be prepared to back it up, and the studies I've seen are either inconclusive or contradictory to the claims.
I think it has a lot to do with where people are physically. If everyone could be in the office one or two days a week, that might be helpful for those in promptu conversations. However, if people are too far, then obviously getting everyone together won't work. Personally, I don't miss the commute and am happy to work at home. Professionally, I'm quite happy ‘chatting’ someone with a “can I call you” request. I find that action extremely helpful when you just need to talk to someone to resolve an issue and email is just not working.
@Aimee Siegler. Same here. I'm located in a new facility in Chandler, AZ, and my work colleagues are in Central Florida and India. My manager is in Florida. Remote work is becoming common place in that it eliminates the need for people to be in the same office building.
Some companies also have many of their administrator workers working from home because they feel it's more effective. As long as the work gets completed, the company is not concerned with the hours worked or how the hours each day are broken up - as long as the work gets done. They measure the work instead of the hours, but they still get paid 40 hours a week if they are salaried.
We have had the technology to work remote for many years prior to Covid. It's interesting that we didn't see this popular push to remote work way before Covid happened.
I would recommend that anyone supporting manufacturing operations should strongly consider going into the manufacturing facility on some regular basis to demonstrate that you are indeed available to support all the manufacturing personnel "in the flesh". Those workers do not have the option to work remotely and may perceive that as a perk that they are forbidden from enjoying. Additionally, there are so many back-stories happening at a plant that will not come up in Zoom meetings, emails, or instant messaging. Potential emerging issues can be identified earlier by deliberately walking the production floor and talking with people face-to-face, seeing the parts, seeing the machines, seeing the process. The plant production supervisors like to see the faces of their peers in engineering, quality, supply chain, etc...
@Craig Atkinson I agree that a business whose work involves physical processes clearly should be supported with on site people. That would include manufacturing and a lot of service industries. When I worked for a manufacturing firm based near San Diego, I spent most of six months out there.
But it's not universal.
When I first worked for a previous employer my job was to sit on the phone, share a screen, and do “Black Belt” coaching for people around the nation and around the world. The vast majority of my colleagues, and the vast majority of our supervisors, agreed that it made no difference where we sat to take those calls - but the department head had zero respect for anybody else's opinion. Hence, we all were forced to sit in the office in NJ.
This would suggest that the pandemic did not precipitate any discovery whatsoever, but really just forced the hands of micro-managing so-called leaders. Post pandemic conditions empower those who would impose their will without any true justification, like the JP Morgan Chase so-called leader.
Bottom line: it's contextual whether it matters, and it's being imposed more than the situation truly requires.