The problem isn’t remote working – it’s clinging to office-based practices | Alexia Cambon - Deepstash
Normalising remote work

The pandemic normalised remote working, and despite the fears of most organisations, there was no demonstrable loss of productivity.

Now, the global workforce wants to retain increased flexibility as societies open up again. Yet, many organisations are resisting this more flexible future. They argue that employees' wellbeing is compromised by remote working, for example, Zoom fatigue.

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The problem is that although most office workers are currently working from home, they still work in an office-centric manner.

Most of our work practices are based around location: when we work, where we work, how we work. Worse is that these practises were designed decades ago. The pandemic has given us the unique opportunity to question these structures.

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  • The "when" of work. The 9-5 workday was formalised for factory workers by Henry Ford in 1926. Most of us don't work in factories. Moreover, the linear day is unsuitable for the remote environment.
  • The "where" of work. The dominance of the office was needed in a time without home internet or laptops. We are long past needing to prove that work can be done away from employer-owned space.
  • The "how" of work. It is an assumption that a meeting is the best way to collaborate. This idea comes from the 1950s. Collaboration can happen asynchronously.

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The outdated, office-centric work designs are making us tired. We are working within systems that are not built for our current environment. Reverting back to the office full time is also not the answer.

We need to stop designing work around location and start designing work around human behaviour. Data shows that employees will work better, stay at their organisation longer and keep healthier.

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