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Stop Working From Home

Is working from home helping you achieve your goals?

As with everything we recommend thinking about your goals as you evaluate “remote work” or “work from home” benefits. If your goal is to work less, become an amateur golfer, or secretly have two jobs, well remote work is the ticket.

However, if your goal is to accelerate your career then we believe you need to be in the office. See our article on Setting Good Goals.

Before we go any further, we can acknowledge the benefits of remote work:

· Better work life balance as you have more time at home

· Cost savings on gas, clothes, food, parking, etc.

· Potentially more hours in the day to be productive

· Beautiful and idyllic work locations

However, these remote wort benefits will also prevent you from realizing the benefits of working from the office that you should understand.

💡 Pro Tip: Analyze how researchers and reporters gather their data about remote work productivity. We are suspicious of those research articles that use surveys and self-reporting to support the notion that employees are more productive at home.

Building Relationships

There is no substitute for talking to people in person. See the Harvard Business Review articles Need a Favor? Research Suggests It’s Best to Ask In Person and What Email, IM, and the Phone Are Each Good For.

Speaking to people in person is the richest way to express ideas and build trust.

Those relationships are important when you need to get work done. If you have a good relationship with the people who you work with then they are more likely to help you when the time comes.

💡 Pro Tip: By being in the office you can hear about all the new rumors and gossip, which in our experience is often very valuable when it comes to understanding corporate politics.

Executive Leadership

If you are working from the office, then you are inevitably going to run into senior leaders at the company.

Just like building relationships with those you work with on a regular basis, having the ear of your company’s leaders can help you immensely in getting work done and when it comes time to performance calibrations.

Getting Work Done

While you may be very productive from your remote work location, we can agree there are more distractions and opportunities to do other things when you are not in the office.

If you have a question or a thought to share with a colleague, then you can usually simply walk right over and chat as opposed to sending an email or scheduling another meeting.

💡 Pro Tip: As a leader you should schedule “in office” meetings that force your team to come together in person. Limit exceptions and set the tone that being present and available is critical to their performance evaluations.

The reality is that productivity always depends on the person and their situation. However, we have observed that many remote workers are doing other “work” or are hard to find from minute to minute with prolonged periods of being away from their computer.

💡 Pro Tip: If you are a leader in the HR department or a manager, then suggest adding a VPN monitoring control to determine the usage from each employee. We are willing to bet you will find a number of employees who aren’t actually doing much during the day.

Building Your Brand

If you are in the office, then you can build your brand as someone who is dependable and present. It may not seem like a lot but just the act of being present is critical.

Thankfully, the Covid pandemic brought clarity to how much time you need to be at the office. By being in the office you establish yourself above those who are not in the office if all other things are equal between two employees.

💡 Pro Tip: While being in the office is important that doesn’t mean you need to be there for 50 hours a week. It is acceptable to have a hybrid approach where employees can work in the office on certain days or where you allow for people to leave before rush hour traffic.

External Networking

By being out in the ‘wild’ of the office environment you will inevitably run into new contacts, or old ones for that matter. These networking contacts cannot be made virtually as the very nature of new networking depends on being in the same place at the same time.

Unknown Opportunities

Beyond external networking there are other opportunities that can emerge. It is hard to say, but we know that just by being out and about and by being externally available you will find new opportunities to accelerate you career.

Maybe you meet a friend of a friend, maybe you see something in the office that sparks a new idea or approach, or you are able to find quite time in the office where you can find inspiration.

Final Thoughts

Yes, working from home or Hawaii is great. Yes, there are benefits to the remote work lifestyle.

However, if you are setting goals where you need to be promoted, where you want to build your network, or where you want to be better at your trade you need to go into the office.

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