By: Henning Schwinum
Because It Is a Myth That Employees Are Less Productive Outside the Office
“Start by dispelling the myths that stand between you
and your ability to capture this competitive opportunity.”
Thank you, Gartner, for using a recent study to dispel seven hybrid workforce myths:
Myth #1: Our existing remote work strategy will work for a hybrid workforce
Myth #2: Employees are less productive outside the office
Myth #3: We need to monitor and measure what employees are doing
Myth #4: Our jobs can’t be done remotely
Myth #5: We need in-person contact to sustain our culture
Myth #6: Hybrid workforce models hurt diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy
Myth #7: A hybrid workforce model duplicates our IT infrastructure
Having worked from home and having led home-based and hybrid sales teams, these were always myths to me. But I guess it took the pandemic and the forced experiment almost all companies undertook about a year ago to expand the idea beyond sales and beyond those companies that had progressively embraced it already.
“55% of workers are high performers when offered greater flexibility vs. when working 9-5 in an office.”
Employees thrive when given what Gartner calls “radical flexibility.” That is a choice of where to work, when to work, and how much to work. Case in point, I spoke to a seasoned salesperson calling on C-suite executives recently that reported great success when connecting with potential clients on Sunday afternoon; and by offering and being available for calls past 9 pm.
“Change in inclusion due to sustainable DEI initiatives: a 20% increase, made up of on-the-job effort, intent to stay, and increase in performance.”
A hybrid or WFH model makes it easier to tap into a diverse talent pool. Just consider the fact that over the course of the first ten months of the pandemic, women—particularly women of color—have lost more jobs than men as industries dominated by women have been hit the hardest.
“Fully remote employees score almost twice as high in enterprise contribution as those that are never remote.”
Many companies do continue with a WFH or hybrid model post-pandemic. Most of their employees prefer it, they don’t want to risk losing high-performers, they understand the obvious savings, and most importantly, they found out that it actually works!
“The question is no longer whether employees can be productive when working remotely. The question is what you need to provide to employees for them to be productive.”
Dispelling myth #1 makes it clear: the success of WFH or hybrid models does not happen automatically. It requires changes to management and leadership, organizational models, goal setting, IT infrastructure, and more. Focus less on productivity and more on outcomes.
“Resilient, future-fit organizations need “Everywhere Enterprise” strategies — which go beyond enabling a workforce with mobile devices and remote access alone.”
Hybrid workforce models look beyond roles and break them down into tasks. Most roles then fall somewhere on a spectrum between fully portable and fully nonportable. Assembly-line work, for example, includes almost all nonportable tasks. Surgeons, in contrast, perform a mix of nonportable tasks (e.g., the surgery itself) and highly portable tasks (e.g., notes and paperwork). The latter is true for most roles in our economy.
“Collaboration, agility and trust are increasingly important cultural values in resilient organizations and don’t relate to a physical location.”
It was the idea that micromanagement and a tight leash ensured performance that kept many companies and their C-suite from embracing WFH. However, it is well known that micromanagement contributes to low morale, high turnover, inefficiency, instability, and lack of continuity in an organization.
“70% of businesses are allowing employees to bring home work equipment, and 58% have supplied new hardware.”