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Remote work, an unfortunate failure that CEOs no longer want?

Remote work, an unfortunate failure that CEOs no longer want?

Apparently, too many employees take advantage of this to devote themselves to idleness. (Photo: Drew Kaufman for Unsplash)

Damn job! The section where Olivier Schmucker answers your most interesting questions [et les plus pertinentes] About the modern business world… and of course its shortcomings. Appointment to read Tuesday And the Thursday. Would you like to participate? Send us your question to [email protected]

Question: “Our boss has warned us that the head of our SME will stop working remotely. Explanation? “It’s not working,” without further explanation. I was completely shocked, because a large number of employees appreciate this good way of juggling work And personal life! – Karen

A: Dear Karen, It’s time to take stock after three years of widespread experimentation with remote work, with the vast majority of CEOs clearly saying they’re unhappy with it. Not even very satisfied.

As evidence of this, I cite the study “CEO Forecasts 2023” conducted by consulting firm KPMG, which was conducted on 1,325 CEOs from 11 countries, including Canada, working in 11 different sectors of activity. It is particularly evident that:

– 64% of CEOs expect to return to full-time office work within the next three years.

– 87% of CEOs plan to soon offer incentives to return to their offices, for example in the form of bonuses, salary increases or promotions.

This fierce desire to put an end to remote work once and for all may come as a surprise. Moreover, Andrew Yates, CEO of KPMG Australia, was surprised by this himself in the study: “I was convinced that hybrid and flexible working was here to stay, but I was wrong,” he modestly admits.

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What do they blame him for? Basically a decrease in productivity. Two other recent studies seem to provide strong arguments for them.

José María Barreiro is a professor of finance at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, Steven Davis is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and Nicholas Bloom is a professor of economics at Stanford University. Together, the three researchers compiled recent studies on the impact of remote work on employee productivity. The result is clear: “In general, remote work reduces productivity by 10% to 20%.”

Why? The reasons are multiple, according to the study:

– Difficulties in communication and coordination of work;

– Failure of communications networks;

– Decrease in creativity.

– Decline in peer learning and mentoring.

Add to that what was revealed by another study conducted by Upgraded Points, which revealed the fact that remote work is a source of countless distractions:

– When they work remotely, 75% of people take the opportunity to consult their social media (something they prevent themselves from doing in the office, for fear of being seen).

– 70% shop online.

– 53% watch TV shows or movies.

– 32% plan weekends or vacations.

That’s not all. Many employees take advantage of this to do something other than work for their employer:

– 72% take advantage of this to do household chores (during their working hours).

– 37% go to buy groceries.

– 22% take a nap.

– 12% go for a drink at the bar next door.

It’s quite simple, as 1 in 10 employees (13%) categorically admit that they actually only work three or four hours a day when they work remotely.

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Karen, let me ask you two or three questions: Don’t you also find there is abuse here? Don’t you understand that CEOs see red when they discover statistics like this? And they only want one thing: to put an end to all of this?

Now, should remote work be completely eliminated? Do we consider remote work just an excuse to attack with impunity? No, of course, because it’s ridiculous to shift from one extreme to the other: remote work is neither all black nor all white.

In fact, it seems to me that the problem is not with remote work, but with the way it is implemented. As a reference, I want to offer what a study conducted by three researchers from ITAM, the University of Chicago, and Stanford University offered as a major explanation for the decline in productivity caused by remote work: increased communication and work coordination problems.

Therefore, it will be appropriate to review our way of communicating within the team when its members are far away. Creating a constant link between each other will remove the temptation to do something other than work (e.g. “others don’t see me, so I can stealthily catch up on my Netflix series!”), but so that this link is there it is not experienced as underhanded, underhanded surveillance (which should be avoided Totally the big brother effect!).

How to achieve this? I admit I don’t really know. But I’m convinced that among all the people reading this column, there are certainly a few who have their own thoughts on this topic, or even have already identified an interesting solution. Hence my appeal to everyone: Tell me your discovery, even if it is not complete! I’ll be happy to share the most important ones with everyone in a future column. who knows? This could save Karen’s day, by providing her with enough arguments to change the mind of the boss of her SME.

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