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Remote Work is Not a Productivity Killer

Dr. Brittany Castonguay 21 Aug 23 #management

In a post-Covid work era, employees are still highly vested in remote work environments as more employers discourage the practice. Why is there a divide between the two? A significant component of the anti-remote policy being pushed is decreased productivity. From a business perspective, it is a failed argument that the facts do not support. The Labor Department reported a 2.4% output increase for fiscal year 23, first quarter. This statistic came as a surprise to experts who only expected a 2% jump.


We must stop misplacing the blame and look internally at the culture we are fostering.

In another study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 40% of respondents reported working an average of 48.5 minutes longer. Participants also reported an increase in work-life balance and reduced work-related stress. If the facts don’t support a full-time return to the office, why are employers set on seeing employees face-to-face?


remote work, productivity
Remote work boosted productivity by 2.4%

The truth boils down to the organization's culture and a trust in middle management to set and manage workplace expectations. Senior leaders set the tone when publicizing policies, such as remote work, but the manager is responsible for ensuring each employee is appropriately tasked and managed. As a manager, it is their responsibility to clearly and concisely communicate expectations and set specific measurements that support those intended outcomes. Failure to do so is not a failure of remote workers but a failure of management. We must stop misplacing the blame and look internally at the culture we are fostering.


Opportunities for continued success expand beyond the boundaries of a physical work location.

Those capable of supporting a remote or hybrid work schedule but fail to offer remote work as an option possess a poor mind growth set and are limiting their future potential. Organizations fail when they refuse to adapt to new social norms. In the wake of this post-Covid era, employees have embraced a different work-life balance and reset their prerogatives. By doing so, employees have embraced a new digital workplace where physically coming into work is not only needed but is a hindrance. As a result, employees who feel their management and leaders are not supporting them will move on to another organization whose culture does support their newly aligned value system. The shift in talent leaving an organization and moving to a competitor who supports remote work will leave organizations struggling to compete. Failure to adapt is a business killer, and senior leaders must embrace the fact that remote work is capable and highly productive.


Manifesting a cultural change is difficult and takes not only time but change agents to process the growing pains of change. This author acknowledges that creating long-lasting and effective change is hard. Yet, it is not impossible. Effecting change has longer-lasting results than the alternative, which is losing talent to competitors who embraced change. Anybody can embrace change; doing so requires the right leaders in the correct positions with a positive growth mindset. Remote work is not a productivity killer. Instead, the opportunities for continued success expand beyond the boundaries of a physical work location.


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