Everything changes and so does the concept of traditional office. More and more people tend to click “Remote OK” in filter preferences when they look for a new job. And the number of such people is twice bigger when we speak about IT industry. Developers, designers, technical support engineers, product managers, copywriters, marketers… All of them want to work from the comfort of their own home. Why? Because it makes them less stressed, more productive, more engaged and simply happier. But not everyone sees it this way, especially when it comes to bosses. So let’s take a look at different approaches and try to solve this “Remote vs. Office: what’s better?” problem.
90% of company leaders, CEOs and directors usually don’t like the idea of “Remote OK” because they strongly believe that this way there’s no chance that work will be done a) in time b) exactly the way they want it to be done c) ever. That’s why physical presence of employees really calms them down. The boss often thinks that all work processes are up and running because of him/her being there, but that’s not really true. Employees still press “like” buttons on their Facebook pages or watch YouTube videos or play “Hearthstone”. At least because average time of maximum concentration per day for a person is 4-5 hours. And if we take 8-9-hour work day… Well, there’s plenty of room for distraction.
Sometimes when you ask this question: “Can I work remotely?” during job interview, you may hear something like: “We have our corporate culture and there’s no place for such things like remote work”. Here’s the classic definition of corporate culture:
Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.
Basically, corporate culture is how your understand your own mission, the way you talk to clients, how ethical your behaviour is, general impression your company makes etc. But there’s no word about office. 9:00 — 18:00 presence is not corporate culture. Playing “World of Warcraft” during the night with coworkers is not corporate culture. Neither is it wine or pizza or burgers. Corporate culture is all about human relationships. And when you hear something like this during you job interview, it usually means: “Hey, I don’t trust you and I want to monitor you. But don’t worry, I don’t trust anyone here. That’s why I’m waiting for you at 9 in the morning and don’t be late”. You are not supposed to be pissed off by this phrase because it’s normal. What you can do is try and earn this trust by providing successful work and only then you can try and switch to remote. But this will depend on flexibility of your boss and how valuable you are for this organisation.
Let’s have a look at what people answer when you ask them why they want to work remotely: “My desk is super tiny and uncomfortable..”; “My computer takes after a dinosaur already and I’ve no idea why it still works..”; “Open space makes me nervous and I can’t concentrate”; “I don’t like being surrounded by people, especially when they are noisy..”; “I prefer to eat alone..”; “Those traffic jams/crowded subway/one hour in a bus/ drives me nuts..” “Fresh air! I need some fresh air!” “I’m a night owl and I’m not capable of working during morning hours..”, “Sitting 8 hours a day makes me exhausted, I’m too tired after work to do something else..”.
I am sure any employee would find something to complain about. So what’s different when they work from home? Actually, a lot. Here’s a brief description of how remote worker thinks and spends his/her morning:
Mmmm…What’s that? 6-30 am? Omg! Awesome. Each time when I think that I don’t have to take this damn train full of sweaty people at 7-15 makes me feel like the happiest person in the world. Ok, time to get up and check out the kitchen. So…What’s for breakfast? I think that my today’s choice is omelette. And it’s not a 5-minute omelette because I’d be late if I spent more time on cooking it. It will be most amazing omelette in the world, just perfect to start my day. And while cooking it I’ll be listening to my favourite show/podcast/music. Mmm…so yummy and soooo good. Anyway, what time is it? 7-30? I still have plenty of time to go to my gym and actually work out. Because when I used to come home around 8 pm every day I felt pretty much like a zombie. The zombie who’d give away everything to just be able to lay down and rest a bit. And working out is super important, especially when your work requires you to sit down most of the time. But actually the weather is so nice today, I’d better go running. 8-20 am? I still have time to take a shower and answer my Facebook messages. Boss? I love you so much for letting me open Asana at 9, being a happy person and giving me a feeling that I’m actually living! I’m gonna do my best today to develop that application!