Pixelated Productivity – The Mirage of Remote Work Efficiency?

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Has technology truly solved the problem of where we work?

The Economist suggests that working from home might not be as efficient as going to the office in the article, The working-from-home illusion fades.

The problem of productivity… is a problem… again.

Recently, big companies like Apple, Google, and Meta have demanded that employees work in-office at least three days a week.
Some workers view this negatively, as they prefer working from home.

Despite these views, new research shows offices can increase productivity, as opposed to the many studies we saw during the pandemic that said otherwise.

A 2020 study revealed an 8% rise in calls handled per hour when employees worked remote for an online retailer, but later data showed call quality decreased with longer holds and more callbacks – indicating unresolved customer issues.
In another MIT study, there was close to a 20% gap in productivity from those who were working remotely.
Some are starting to think that there’s a massive creative thinking rut when work is done over video conference.
Some are starting to think that “work” means something different to almost everyone (including team members at the same company, in the same department).

In short, the research suggest that it’s harder for people to collaborate when they’re working alone at home.

It’s also very circumstantial, which makes this all so confusing and challenging.
On one hand, you have a business that trying to build a brand, culture and a place to connect.
On the other hand, we want individualized and personalized work schedules to meet our individual needs and personalities.
Microsoft claims that professional networks within the company became more “static and isolated” as remote/hybrid work models took hold.
Many are now questioning whether team collaboration suffers when working remotely.
These issues bleed into human capital, feedback, information exchange, overall learning/growth, new skill acquisition, and beyond.
To top it all off? Many of the reports where “productivity” had increased in remote/hybrid settings, came with a cost: Employees working longer hours and remote workers were being left behind in terms of promotions.

The opposing perspective?

At what price individual happiness?
The ability to have a more flexible schedule, no commute/traffic, unbroken concentration for longer periods, different types of “work,” and more.

The question now is: Wow do we move forward in a world where coming back to the office is less about bosses being bossy and, apparently, more about better productivity?

What is Tech Tuesday?

Every Tuesday – for just a few minutes – I join Heather Backman (my old buddy from her days on CHOM FM and Jack 103) on the air at 95.9 Star FM to give a quick blast about the current state of technology, media and Internet culture.
We call it Tech Tuesday (and we do it in just a few minutes).

Once the segment goes live on 95.9 Star FM, I will post it here for you to listen in, learn, share and engage.

Before you go… ThinkersOne  is a new way for organizations to buy bite-sized and personalized thought leadership video content (live and recorded) from the best Thinkers in the world. If you’re looking to add excitement  and big smarts to your meetings, corporate events, company off-sites, “lunch & learns” and beyond, check it out.