In a recent study looking at the impact of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic found that perception of organizational support for remote work correlates with higher reported productivity and gains in productive working time. This is in contrast to those that perceive low support for remote work as having a negative impact on productive working time and indicating greater depression symptoms.
- Two-thirds of remote workers want to continue to work remotely
- Zoom fatigue is real, but perhaps management support of remote work is a bigger issue
- Low psychosocial safety is associated with a threefold increase in risk of major depression
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When the primary means of collaboration is asynchronous (as is the case of remote work), the rules and norms of a remote team need to be more deliberate. Social time for the team to bond and have impromptu conversations need to be scheduled since they don’t happen spontaneously with people in the same office (e.g. tea time). Chance encounters need to be intentional (e.g. random coffee chat pairing). Even working hours and setting norms for when people work can be necessary.
We can come up with a valuation of remote work by looking at a few signals: what you would forgo, what do you gain, what others gain, and what others lose.
A study performed on Australian workers that looked at contributing factors to developing major depression symptoms found that low pyschosocial safety climate was associated with a threefold increase in risk of development major depression symptoms.
A study of 10,000 workers at an Asian IT company found that when comparing before the pandamic and during (the work from home period), the number of hours worked increased by 30% (including 18% increase outside of normal working hours, but the average output remained the same. This led the researchers to conclude that the overall productivity of remote work declined by 20%.
There are misconceptions that companies allowing remote work means you can work move around and work from anywhere. That is not the case. Having employees move around constantly poses several challenges for the company (security, taxes, registration, insurance, HR compliance) and teammates (poor internet connection, timezone issues, focus).
A study of a global manufacturing firm found that scientists and engineers who often walked by one another in the office were significantly more likely to end up collaborating at the beginning of projects.