Despite traditionalist executives pushing for a return to the office, fully remote work will win this fall as the threat of new contagious COVID variants looms large. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes why employees who want work to be fully remote will win this fall.
Video: “Employees Wanting Work to Be Fully Remote Will Win This Fall”
Podcast: “Employees Wanting Work to Be Fully Remote Will Win This Fall”
Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast
- Here is the article: Employees Wanting Work to Be Fully Remote Will Win This Fall
- The book Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage is available here.
- You are welcome to register for the free Wise Decision Maker Course
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. And today we’ll talk about remote work, and why much more flexible models will win this fall, rather than the more traditionalist coercive bottles, calling of workers back to the office. We’ve seen the summer the battle over remote work really heating up, we see traditionalist leaders like, go go so it actually made, talked about how he wants his traditional leader, and if he’s the former CEO of Google, but he still represents Google’s ideas, and he wants people back in the office. And Google is definitely pushing to get people back in the office for at least three days a week. Tesla, Elon Musk has said that and same for SpaceX that all employees must go back to the office for a full time week. So they need to work completely from the office. So they’re opposing remote work, they’re trying to coerce their workers who worked very productively, remotely, to get back in the office. And we know that remote workers are actually more productive than office workers on average, we’ve had a lot of research showing exactly that. So this demand is leading to employees resisting this coercion. They’re resisting in a number of ways, a number of simply resigning, including an apples to apples, another one of these companies that had that is trying to force its employees all back to the office three or more days a week, and the head of its AI division resigned, saying that it’s because Apple’s policies sound flexible. And of course, many lower ranking people are resigning for similar reasons. Even people are threatening strikes. So the Google Maps division. They threatened a strike, unless Google allowed the return to office and they got the 90 day delay, sending lots of petitions. So they’re doing public activism, which is unusual for people at Google Apple to be public about it. So criticize management publicly, not only signing petitions, but publicly expressing criticism. And of course, leaving for more flexible rivals, rivals like Amazon, or Facebook, or many other companies, Applied Materials that are offering much more flexibility to their workers. And these are folks who are desirable software programmers, other folks, specialists, data scientists, anyone who can work remotely, who’s working remotely has a lot of desirability and can find a job elsewhere. Now, we need to understand what’s happening. And why I say that remote work or when this fall, that’s because we have new COVID variants that will really cause more of a shift to remote work than we have right now. The government, Anthony Fauci and others are warning that new COVID variants this fall could cause as many as 100 million infections, maybe more, maybe less, the most dangerous one is B five, and you’ve probably heard about it. And there are newer ones coming out that we don’t know enough about yet, that might prove pretty dangerous. So there’s a version of b two that looks like it’s pretty dangerous and has potentially even more of a scene escape than B five. But so far, not enough research has been done. That’s what’s talked about Big Five, what we know is that it has become the dominant, the dominant variant in the US and elsewhere. In Europe, most European countries, it’s more resistant to immunity, whether from vaccines or from prior infections. It’s also more transmissible, so it’s easier to transmit. Not only are we less protected, whether it be from vaccines, or prior infections, but it’s more transmissible and it seems, from initial studies that have caused the more severe illness. So that sucks. That’s very unfortunate. And that combined with the fact that in the US due to bickering between the parties, government funding for COVID addressing problems for vaccine development for pills, like but SLOVAN sub treatment of COVID has been drastically cut, dramatically cut. We spent over many trillions of dollars and spent several trillion dollars on addressing COVID. And now we can’t spend in the 10s of billions to prevent COVID from hurting us further. It’s unimaginable. It’s very hard to imagine this is the situation but it really is. So it’s pretty terrible. Now, what’s the implication so this is the reality that we’re facing. And this is an election year in the US. It might not get better, it might get worse. So they look Haitian because COVID reinfections also are an issue. So we’ll have a lot of people who get reinfected with COVID. If you get infected the first time again, the five escapes your immunity. So the immunity from prior infection is much less effective against day five, unfortunately. So vaccines also are becoming less effective over time. So both vaccines and prior infections are becoming less effective over time, causing us to be more vulnerable to getting reinfected with the five who are getting infected in the first place that he had the vaccine. And unfortunately, the booster effort is pretty far behind. We have not updated the booster to match the new strains that are being developed. Unfortunately, supposedly, we should have been able to do it within a couple of months. But Omicron came out in late fall of 2021, we still have the summer of 2022 and have still not addressed the updating process. So the booster effort is pretty far behind in that regard. And it’s also behind in terms of uptake. Relatively few people are getting booster shots. It’s very unfortunate and surprising. But yes, people are getting booster shots, even though they’re very much able to. So new COVID variants escape antibodies from vaccination and prior infection. And that is what we need to remember about them: they will cause either reinfection for those who have been infected with COVID before or infection with people who are immune to vaccines. How does this impact back to Office strategy? Well, let’s think about the past in previous COVID waves whether the delta wave, the alpha wave, the Omicron wave, this forced office return policy lead to situations of challenge prior to the wave. So what happened. So prior to the wave leaders like Elon Musk, or the leadership of Apple, Tim Cook, and so on, of leadership at Google, they forced their employees back to the office. And that led to a lot of stress and tensions. Before the wave it undermined productivity, because first of all, people are more productive remotely. Second of all, when people are unhappy, they don’t work very well. Harmed engagement and morale lead to people leaving, of course, when pairing retention and recruitment, so those are all problems. Now, once the wave hits. So this is what happened before the wave hit. This was the first office return policy. And it led to a lot of stress, harm, productivity, harmed engagement, hurt, morale, harmed, retention and recruitment. Now, that’s a lot of stress to accomplish getting workers back in the office. But guess what, once the wave hits, we can look back and look at the newspaper articles on what was happening with the delta wave and the Omicron wave. All these companies rolled back their back to the office policies, right? They later rolled them back. And so all the stress was wasted, all the tension, all the drama was wasted, wasted effort. And so we’ll see if the cycle again repeat this fall, where Bay five, just becoming which has become dominant, will lead to in the fall when the virus is more infectious due to both cold weather and people spending more time indoors and waning vaccine protection that will lead to a lot more infections as Anthony Fauci and other government officials have said, Now, why do leaders resist having more remote work? What’s going on there? What’s the psychology there? Well, the bosses are calling staff back to the office because they want to feel empowered, they want to feel in control. They’re saying that they’re losing social capital. They’re saying Elon Musk said that remote workers are only pretending to work. Google said at one social capital, Apple wants innovation. But really, if you’ve seen previous episodes, if you’ve listened to previous episodes of the wise decision maker show, you’ll have seen that social capital, productivity and innovation can be very well activated, boosted, maximized in fully remote settings, if needed, because there are techniques to do so. And these companies are refusing to use best practices for optimizing remote work. And they’re saying they’re trying to call employees in for productivity, social capital innovation, but that’s not true. Because if they really wanted innovation, if they really wanted the productivity, if they really wanted social capital, they would be using best practices to get workers in there whether asynchronous brainstorming for innovation, whether virtual coWorking for productivity and collaboration, and social capital, virtual watercolors for social capital, the evaluations of excellence from anywhere strategy for productivity, lots of strategies to do so. And they’re not. And they’re covering up their true concerns, which are about their identity. And you have to feel for them, they feel strong, they feel powerful. They feel successful by being in the office. Now, Elon Musk, when he was talking about why he wants people back in office, he says, Well, I spent time back in the office and I was visible, and it’s very important to be visible. So this visibility element, and there was a recent op ed, in Fortune Magazine, which talked about how a leader actually the executive editor of Fortune, really wants everyone back in the office and wants to go back to the office herself, because she feels she lost her identity as a powerful leader, when she has to work from home. So they are losing their identity. And that’s literally what the Op Ed author, the executive editor of Fortune Magazine said, and they want to feel successful, they want to get back to that state where they feel successful. And that’s within office work. And this is, of course, selfish. When we think about it, it’s very self oriented. It’s not oriented toward the company. It’s not oriented toward others’ perspectives. And the executive editor fortunate Nerdist. She said, literally, I mean, this is from the bench, she said that, yes, this is selfish and self centered. Still, this is what I want. And this selfish disposition is resulting from a cognitive bias, a mental blind spot, called the egocentric bias. So prioritizes your own perspective, your own needs, your own priorities over everyone else over all others. And, very importantly, unproblematically for leaders over the company’s bottom line, because obviously, you’re going to harm retention, you’re going to harm recruitment, engagement, morale, productivity, cause lots of stress, harm well being by forcing employees back to the office. And especially at a time when it’s really useless, because you’ll need to roll this all back by in the fall. A much better approach to the future of work is a team lead model, not this top down approach where he tells everyone what to do. But a team lead model, where you push down the centralized authority and decision making of the leaders of rank and file teams, they should decide, along with their team members consulting with their team members, what work arrangements serve best for their team, for their team members, and arrange for those work arrangements. So different models will be good for different business models, different models of work will address different requirements for different businesses. There is a hybrid first model, there’s a home centric model. So let’s go through these two examples. Hybrid first model with a, again, all team lead. It’s best for teams that heavily depend on collaboration, where collaboration is quite important. So staff will work home on their individual tasks. We know from extensive research that people are overall more productive on their individual tasks at home, and especially on all of their tasks at home, and especially more productive on individual tasks. And again, this is an average if you have so many screaming kids in your home. Or if you’re a young person who has roommates, you might not be more productive from home. But this is on average, people are much more productive from home, on their individual tasks. But they will also come to the office once a week, once a week as a default. Some people like to do it twice a week, but once a week I find this quite enough when I work with my clients to socialize with each other and collaborate. And of course, if you need to collaborate more intensely, you might want to come in twice a week, even three times a week, depending on the kind of collaboration you do. Most people get by and are happy and satisfied, fulfilled. So well connected to other team members collaborate well, once a week, because collaboration of course, and socialization are better in the office. So we understand that. Now, some people aren’t. You have various studies showing that collaboration can be more productive at home and it depends on the kind of collaboration you do. So the more intense collaboration you do, the better it is to be in the office. I’ll give you examples among my clients. One is applied materials of a fortune 200 high tech manufacturer in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, manufactures equipment for us I conducted manufacturers, and it has 29,000 staff 400 global leaders, and they adopted this modality and they find it fits their needs very well. So this is a fortune 200 company. This is a huge company of 29,000 people. Now on a smaller scale would be the Information Sciences Institute. It has 400 staff. It’s a data science and AI research institute. So with teams led by research directors, who then manage their team members, they were originally going to go to a three day a week model like Apple and Google. And after engaging with my content, they learned that it’s going to be much better to have a team lead model. And they find that their flexibility works much better for their needs for attention, engagement, productivity, and so on. And the same thing for Applied Materials, they find that they had a really positive impact from I was just talking to the Chief Human Resource Officer Susan Winchester, who was telling me that there had a big positive impact from my research, and from my expertise, presenting these methodologies, which I mentioned before, things like asynchronous remote brainstorming, virtual coworking, and so on. Now, another one is a home centric model. So that’s where people work, of course, primarily at home like it sounds, primarily home work. That’s for teams that want to come to the office only for important meetings, maybe training or so it’s a better fit for organizations whose work is more individualized, less team oriented, so you have less collaboration. And then a sample of my client is the Job Center for Health Research. Now, when we did the survey for that client 85% of the staff wanted to work home remotely full time. And they did not do as much collaboration with each other as let’s say, the Information Sciences Institute staff do, where they work in groups centered around the research director. And that’s an example where a home centric model works very well for them. Now, what are the benefits of these flexible work models? Why should you employ them? Well, they give employees flexibility. And this is the top top priority, when there was a recent survey that showed that when employees are choosing a job, the focus there, what they’re really focusing on right now and the time of the great resignation, when so many employees are leaving flexibility. Flexibility is their number one desire, they want flexibility of where to work and flexibility of time to work, the focus, where to work is incredibly important. It addresses risks related to covered because when COVID cases arise, then the team can spend more time working remotely. Or maybe if they want to meet, they can meet outdoors. So they do not, they’re not dependent on the office. And they’re much more flexible, reflecting each team’s needs and collaboration activities. For some priority. They can come to the office and have more masks and more masking and whatever else they can all take rapid tests to wrap tests before they come to the office to do some collaboration. It helps companies develop leadership in the future of work. These are modalities which will determine the future of work. This is the future, we’re not going to go back to the past, we’re not going to go back to January 2020. No matter how much people like Elon Musk might want that, they will find that the best employees are leaving their company. An overall future is with hybrid first and home centric modalities. So they can maximize profits for companies overall, by boosting their retention, they’ll definitely very clearly retain employees more recruitment, obviously much more capable of recruiting employees collaboration, they can collaborate with people much more effectively if they’re happy, if they’re productive. And if you have this flexibility. So if you need to collaborate more, perhaps a hybrid first model, if you need to collaborate less, perhaps a home centric model innovation, you can definitely innovate very effectively using remote synchronous brainstorming and other techniques for whether it’s a home centric model or hybrid first model and productivity. We have very clear research that productivity is quite a bit higher if you have people working remotely. And of course, if you have people happy, which is what you’ll get an engagement, higher morale, less stress, more well being happy employees by having this flexible model. Alright everyone, I hope you’ve benefited from this episode of the wise decision maker show. My name is Dr. Gleb. I’m the CEO of disaster avoidance experts. And I would love to hear any feedback you have on this show. or email me at Gleb at disaster avoidance experts.com. And please leave a review on iTunes and Amazon, whatever platform you’ve heard this show on, this law helps other people discover the show and get the benefits that you’re getting right now. And I hope to see you on the next episode of the wise decision maker show. So please go ahead, make sure that you subscribe to it on whatever platform you checked it out, and I look forward to greeting you next time. In the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decision still, my friends
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps tech and insurance executives drive collaboration, innovation, and retention in hybrid work. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which helps organizations adopt a hybrid-first culture, instead of incrementally improving on the traditional office-centric culture. A best-selling author of 7 books, he is especially well-known for his global best-sellers Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019) and The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020). His newest book is Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in prominent venues. They include Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Time, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Fast Company, USA Today, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from his research background as a cognitive scientist. After spending 8 years getting a PhD and lecturing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served for 7 years as a professor at the Ohio State University’s Decision Sciences Collaborative and History Department. He lives in Columbus, Ohio (Go Bucks!) and in his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/