Now that many of us have been working remotely for the past 18 months, what are your thoughts on the concept of a remote or hybrid office? Have your opinions changed at all, or are you still clinging to your previously conceived notions of what it would be like? It does not help that some major companies, like Microsoft, are sending out mixed signals on their own experiences with remote work. What can we learn from these experiences?
Microsoft performed a study from the past year and discovered some surprising results. Like many companies, Microsoft transitioned to fully remote operations at the beginning of 2020, but the results of their study found that there were several problems which occurred as a result of this decision, chief among them being a decrease in meaningful communication, less socializing between coworkers and colleagues, and less collaboration overall.
Microsoft’s conclusions are a bit concerning, but not unexpected to an extent. After all, there is a stark contrast between working in-house in an office environment and working remotely from the comfort of your home. Essentially, Microsoft found that remote work in the capacity that it is currently being utilized could be harmful to productivity and innovation moving forward. Furthermore, the use of email and instant messaging rather than face-to-face, in-person communication makes it more difficult to collaborate.
While it might be necessary in the short term, the benefits of remote work might stop after a certain point, and an entirely remote workforce could create more problems than it solves.
Considering the fact that companies like Microsoft have been touting solutions like Microsoft Teams so heavily, these revelations from the company’s own experiences are in stark contrast to what they have been marketing to users and companies that utilize their products and services. It makes it hard to know what to believe about remote work.
In the end, we believe that it all boils down to the way that you implement remote work for your business and the way you build your workplace policies. After all, you are not a massive enterprise. You are likely a small or medium-sized business with a smaller workforce and, therefore, significantly different needs compared to a huge corporation like Microsoft. Depending on your company’s needs moving forward, remote work might be useful for certain positions, whereas it might be detrimental to others. Some companies may choose to implement a hybrid workplace model, where employees spend part of their time in-office and the rest of the time remote.
So, considering the results of these studies, what are your thoughts on remote work moving forward? Do you think it has a place in a post-pandemic workplace, or are you going to prioritize a speedy return to the office environment? What about a mixture of both, like a hybrid business model? Let us know in the comments, and know that Advantage IT Management is here to help you with any of your technology needs, regardless of your business model! Just give us a call at 251-662-9770.