What keeps companies from converting to a 100% remote workforce?
The arguments and evidence for implementing full or partial remote work strategies for companies large and small is pretty convincing. From massive infrastructure cost reductions to happier, more productive employees, the studies keep piling up.
If you would like to read some recent posts I made on the website Quora on the subject check these out when done (they open in a new tab).
So why don’t all companies just send everyone home?
From talking with executives and business owners about their reasons for not making the move yet, I can say that the answers vary depending on the makeup of their workforce. However, there is a common concern:
Fear of losing control.
Office staff managers tell themselves that they know everything that is going on, especially who is working and who isn’t. Many managers base these assumptions on visual queues (who’s always on-time, who is often sick, who stays late, who always uses a TPS report cover…) and less on how well their team reaches short and mid-term goals. These same managers fear that if they can’t see their employees, they aren’t working.
And it’s not completely unfounded.
When a manager typically hires individuals to fill positions in the office, they aren’t considering how well the team members could work a hundred or a thousand miles away, without supervision and without co-workers nearby supplying encouragement and camaraderie. So, if you suddenly ask everyone to work at home, not all of those experienced in-office employees are going to thrive and it may take a while to notice.
The transition is hardest.
Successful distributed workforce companies figure out how to hire smart. The team members can not only do their job well, but are self-motivated and enthusiastic about working remotely. They are hired because they can work from home.
When you transition a staff to a remote team structure, some people make the switch easily, while others will struggle and some will fail. A company moving to 100% remote should be prepared to make hard staffing decisions down the road. Some good people may need to go but there are a lot of good (and great) people out there who can do the job and do it remotely.
Check out my recent short video on the biggest challenges facing a remote workforce.