Remote Work is Here to Stay – Get over it!

by Feb 22, 20232 comments

Some corporate leaders are living in a parallel universe.

Facebook, among many companies, has mandated that employees return to work for a minimum of three days a week. Some leaders seem to believe that if you can’t see your employees, then they are probably goofing off. Translation: some leaders don’t trust their employees.

We’ve been reading a lot about quiet quitting and the WFH phenomenon and how a large proportion of employees have tasted freedom, and discovered how much they like it.

At Amazon, which has a similar directive, 14,000 employees (who probably resent not being trusted) have taken to their Slack channel (called, “Remote Advocacy”) to protest and resist Facebook’s mandate. In a survey, 80% of them said they would quit if the mandate remained in place. The future success of an organization is dependent on the level of inspiration experienced by employees, which, in turn, determines output, performance and customer satisfaction. With this misguided step by management, how does the future of Amazon look now with 14,000 disgruntled employees?

In the UK, a recent experiment involving nearly 3000 employees and over 60 companies tested a four-day workweek for three months. The result? Ninety-two percent of the companies will stick with the shorter workweek.  Why? Seventy-one percent of employees reported a decrease in burnout and stress. Productivity increased significantly. Sixty percent of employees said balancing home and work responsibilities became easier.

What we see too often is the failure of corporate leaders to embrace change.  We are in a new era where (am I finally able to say this?) enlightened and inspired leaders understand that the power dynamic between employer and employee has changed—forever. Command-and-control leaders were able to get away with their fiats in earlier times, but those times are over. A tight labor market means people can switch employers at will. Therefore, leaders now need to understand that serving the employee as the number one customer (not the external customers, as I have written in my book, The Bellwether Effect) is a leader’s primary role.

The question we need to ask is NOT, “How many of our people are in the office today?”, but, “How many of our people are inspired today”? We inspire when we serve, listen to, and meet the needs of others.

Are you listening to your employees? They are asking you to listen to their needs and meet them.  How are you doing?