Professor Prithwiraj Choudhury is a Harvard Business School remote work expert and he has spoken out about the common mistakes businesses are making by allowing their employees to work from home.
He said that work-from-home is not the right model, even if it is a pandemic-induced short-term requirement. He went on to explain that the new employment normal needs to be a work-from-anywhere model otherwise it is likely to fail.
“Remote work is more than work-from-home, and the form of remote work I am most excited about this work-from-anywhere, where the employee has the choice to live anywhere.”
He believes that any firm that is looking to save money by removing the real estate cost of their business is making the decision to move onto remote working for the wrong reasons. It is cost-effective for the company however, being remote allows you to hire talent for your company from anywhere in the world. This will help you ensure that you have the best people working for you regardless of where they live.
”You really need to be convinced of why you are embracing this model… This is the way to attract and retain the best talent. There are real estate costs and other benefits, but those are secondary.”
Professor Choudhury says that there is one key group of employees that need to be first in line in the migration to your new remote working model: C-Suite executives. “This model can only work if senior managers adopt it, because if the C-Suite and top managers are all in a physical building, then middle managers will all be drawn to that building to get face time.
In other words, your C-Suite executives need to think of themselves as the example to the rest of the company. They way that they work and adapt will show everyone else that it can be done and can be done well.
Old habits need to be changed as well as you need to learn how to communicate with your team in a whole new way. You may have people who are in multiple time zones which means that asking questions and receiving answers will happen in a new way. You have to trust in a process that is not in real-time or in-person. This might be hard for some people and may take time to adjust and learn.
What to leave behind in the office:
According to GitLab CEO, there is a lot that you need to leave in the office. A few of the things are:
- Stop measuring inputs as a way to gauge employee productivity. If the work is getting done and deadlines are met, that is what matters.
- Rewarding people who come early and leave late is a habit you need to break.
- Raises and promotions no longer work for remote work based on subjective factors.
- Transparency has to be your core value. Feedback is crucial regardless if it might make you feel a bit uncomfortable. You need to let everyone know how they are doing and what needs to be changed in order to make the business run better.