Is Remote Work Becoming A Fad? It's Working, But More Complicated Than You Think.

May 22, 2020 00:07:40
Is Remote Work Becoming A Fad? It's Working, But More Complicated Than You Think.
The Josh Bersin Company
Is Remote Work Becoming A Fad? It's Working, But More Complicated Than You Think.

May 22 2020 | 00:07:40

/

Show Notes

Remote Work or Work at Home (WAH) is the new craze. Will this really be the permanent new way of work? Not quite. But it's working well.
View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Hi, this is Josh person. Welcome to Research-Based Perspectives on the ever-Changing World of work, leadership, learning, and HR with a heavy dose of insights on the exciting world of HR technology. Speaker 0 00:00:16 Today, I wanna talk a little bit about remote work or work at home, because it's been sort of funny. For the last several weeks, there have been a flurry of very grandiose announcements about companies saying, our employees can work at home forever, <laugh>, or as long as you want, or for the rest of your lives. Which of course is a very nice thing to say to people who like working at home. But I think it's a little unrealistic. And let me tell you a little bit about what's been going on. First of all, two-thirds of the American workforce cannot work at home. Uh, the research shows that maybe a third of employees have the potential to work at home, and most of the people who do work at home are white collar, higher income workers. So let's not get o overly optimistic about the opportunity. Speaker 0 00:01:13 Second, as much as we may enjoy working at home because we don't have to commute, it's quite a challenging process. We've developed a whole remote work bootcamp on this, and several thousand people have gone in there and shared their feelings. It requires a tremendous amount of trust, time management by the employee working at home. It's different leadership style. It does have the tendency to disorient some people who are left out of the work experience because they're not as vocal online, and it can be very tiring, stressful, and fatiguing to be online working all the time. So for all the benefits of it, and we all know there are benefits of flexibility, it has quite a few challenges. The third thing I would mention is that a significant number of employees don't wanna work at home even though they can. For example, we were on the phone with several big companies yesterday, Microsoft, Facebook, some others, and the younger workers, people in their twenties and thirties who might be working and living in a situation at home with roommates, actually want to get out of the house and go back to the office and hang around with their work friends. Speaker 0 00:02:21 There's no after work cocktail hours anymore. There's no standing around the coffee shop to talk about what's going on in the office or other things. So people miss that. I think we're over rotating a bit towards everybody's gonna work at home all the time. And finally, leaders have a very hard time managing people when they don't see them and they don't talk to them on a regular basis. Now, in my personal experience, I've worked at home and managed people at home for over 20 years, and it is important to meet people face to face. It is important to make time to have physical meetings or regularly to get to know people, and you have to have one-on-one conversations and build personal relationships. If you can do it online, great, but it does take time, and that is an important part of this. And many leaders are frustrated by their ability to really understand the culture and the issues that are going on in the workforce and get to know people as well. Speaker 0 00:03:16 So the reaction that I have to all this is a, is fantastic that we now have this newfound flexibility that we are letting our stock traders work from home. Our salespeople work from home, our marketing managers and various other people work from home. It's fantastic that we have new digital tools and lots of meeting technology and video. Eventually we will have vr, which will make it even more exciting. But let's remember that there is a very important set of re meetings, why people need to spend FaceTime together to say nothing of the need to collaborate, co-design, share ideas, draw pictures on the whiteboard, which is hard to do online, and that the work at home trend is fatiguing. It can be very hard on people, and at most it will affect a third of the workforce. So the real strategy is flexibility to create a safe and hygienic reliable place to work with good practices and protocols, which of course many of you are building right now, and do it in a way that gives people options. Speaker 0 00:04:26 I'll give you an example of what it's like when you work in a professional services company, which I've now had the experience doing. You're pretty much working anywhere. You're working on the plane, you're working at home, you're working in the office, uh, you can check into the office. The software will show you what desks are available. There's no reason why you can't set that up in any company these days with special distancing procedures built into the software. And let's not just go crazy with this work at home thing. By the way, the other thing about work at home that's come up is there are some very difficult use cases. Let's suppose you're hiring a very, very highly trained software engineer who makes two or $300,000 a year and they choose to live in Montana, where the cost of living is very low. Do you pay them the competitive rate for San Francisco or do you pay them the competitive rate for Montana? Speaker 0 00:05:15 That's a good debate you get. You're gonna have to have. Second topic is, what about interns? What about onboarding? What about recruiting? What about interviews? Are you gonna do all that remotely? Those are some of those things are impossible to do remotely. So even if you believe in remote work as a philosophy and you can build great tools and norms and culture around it, there are going to be situations where face-to-face interactions and group meetings are gonna be important, and I think we're gonna get there from here. I would just encourage you not to get too excited about some of these press releases companies are putting out because they're probably over rotating towards remote because there weren't good policies in the past. And we're gonna land on a space of highly flexible, highly empowered, integrated work experiences for all of us. Thanks a lot. Speaker 0 00:06:14 If you like what you heard, please join the Josh Burson Academy, the world's professional development academy for hr for less than a cost of a nice dinner in a town near you. You can have an entire year's access to hundreds of courses, articles, research studies, case studies, and an entire community of more than 10,000 HR professionals all collaborating with each other to help you learn and solve the problems in your particular company. We call the Burson Academy, the world's home for hr, and you'll find it to be one of the most important parts of your career and your company's HR strategy for the years ahead. Thank you.

Other Episodes

Episode 0

September 14, 2022 00:25:15
Episode Cover

Curing The Talent Crisis In Healthcare (Our New GWI Research)

In this podcast I interview Kathi Enderes, our SVP of Research and a seasoned healthcare executive, about our new GWI research on this vital...

Listen

Episode 0

July 24, 2023 00:17:31
Episode Cover

AI in Human Resources: Early Stories From Companies Around The World

We just finished a long call with more than 100 companies about their AI in HR strategies. Guess what - everyone is experimenting. While...

Listen

Episode

February 24, 2024 00:18:10
Episode Cover

The Wakeup Call To Colleges: A Growing "Worthlessness" Of Degrees

As companies shift heavily towards “skills-based hiring” to remove bias, we now see the unintended consequence. Half of all US college graduates are now...

Listen