There has always been a debate for and against working remotely in the US business environment, going back way before the pandemic disrupted the rules of what it looks like to be employed.
You remember when the marketplace was resistant—one might even say opposed—to their employees working remotely unless for exceptional circumstances, don’t you? More often than not, any effort by staff to formalize a remote working policy was thwarted by its leadership.
And then, the pandemic hit. The subsequent upheaval attacked profitability, and the policy veered 180 in a blink of an eye.
Now, the remote work cultural pendulum is returning to a more-taboo status, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics registering a steep drop-off in the percentage of companies permitting employees to work from home.
Further, research by Envoy found that 96 percent of executives say that they notice and value work accomplished in the office more than they do work performed at home.
So, employees face a significant career decision…give up on their aspirations of becoming a well-respected organization influencer no matter their position or returning to the office.
Let’s unpack the turmoil going on regarding remote work.
A study by Flexjobs reveals a notable difference between men and women on this topic. They found that 80 percent of women put remote options as a top benefit in their work positions versus 69 percent of men.
What are the reasons women executives prefer working from home, and how do males compare, according to Flexjobs?
- 70 percent of women are happy not to dress up for the office versus 57 percent of men.
- 60 percent of women prefer their ability to work flexible schedules compared to 48 percent of men.
- Without remote work options, 60 percent of women would look for a new job, and only 52 percent of men would quit.
There’s also a real downside to working from home for mothers. It’s called burnout! And women are more likely to experience it than employed fathers.
These statistics present a big-picture overview highlighting the mixed-bag challenges facing organizations. Some employees couldn’t wait to return to the office after the pandemic, while others dug their heels in, determined never to return to the office, and others are vying for a hybrid work experience.
On the flip side are organizations with equally valid considerations, such as corporate survival, profitability, cultural breakdown, quality control issues, and employee engagement.
If you’re dead set on working remotely, what will aid you in turning the debate in your favor? You won’t get anywhere if your argument is based on your needs. Your proposal must overcome their objections while connecting to a winning formula for them!
That means vital persuaders are:
- Consistent profitability is a core point-of-view of a company’s success equation.
An essential element of your discussion must reveal that remote work is equal to or better for the company than working in the office. The more statistical evidence you can bring, the better your opportunity to change organizational norms will be.
- A cohesive organizational environment produces engaged employees. Much of today’s work rests on the outcome of powerful team collaborations and communications to generate creative problem-solving.
Put your thinking cap on. How can you ensure you’re an influential factor?
- Many managers feel the remote work environment undermines their ability, as a boss, to control and manage their employees. They’re insecure, leading executives they can’t observe or regularly interact with face-to-face. Undoubtedly, you impact your boss’s career for good or bad.
It’s your job to help them feel confident about your performance. To make this happen, does it require you to recommend a specific reporting system that addresses your boss’s concerns before they become an issue? Then adjust.
- When you work from home, you don’t have the advantage of interacting with others collegially or having casual, relationship-building conversations as you bump into each other in the hallway. Relationship-building is essential to productive corporate culture, so this lack harms everyone—the home worker and the organization. There is also the fear that remote workers aren’t as loyal as those with connections to others in the organization.
What can you do to mitigate this damaging social perception? How can you bolster the confidence of your boss and senior leaders that you intend to be a significant executive contributor for years to come? And a hint is to concentrate on building a broad network in the organization. It will serve you well throughout your remote worker status with the company.
- If you’re in a heavily regulated or regularly deal with highly-sensitive data, there is a concern that remote work increases the risk of data breaches or security violations. This opposition may seem an impossible barricade to get around.
However, do you know any IT geniuses in your company? What about partnering with them to see if there could be a way to generate security from your remote location? It’s worth a try!