Working from home is here to stay

Ignore the skeptics saying that to really get work done, you have to be back in the office. They're dead wrong.

I used to like Malcolm Gladwell. And, I still think "Outliers," "Blink," and "The Tipping Point'' are excellent books.

But, sometimes, even brilliant people can make dumb mistakes. Case in point: Gladwell recently said, "It's not in your best interest to work at home. I know it's a hassle to come into the office, but if you're just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom, is that the work-life you want to live?"

Well…, yes. Yes, it is.

Leaving aside that I'm one of those people who dress for work even though my office is 20 feet from my bedroom, I'd much rather work from home than throw away an hour a day commuting from home to office the way I once did.

I'd also rather be able to focus on my work from my quiet home office rather than endure the noise and annoyance of an open office plan.    

Gladwell continued: "People need to come into the office in order to regain a 'sense of belonging' and to feel part of something larger than themselves."

Excuse me? Are you talking about joining a cult or a company?

We just emerged from a pandemic where millions of people couldn't work — were businesses there for many of those people then?

For the most part, no.

You need to look no farther than the airlines that laid off tens of thousands during the darkest days of COVID-19, and now, every time I fly for business, I wonder if I'll make it to my destination

We do face difficult economic times. But while — as small businesses are painfully aware— there are still far more jobs than employees, big companies are still laying off employees left, right, and sideways. For example, according to Crunchbase, more than 37,000 workers in the US tech sector have been laid off in mass job cuts.

So, you'll excuse me if I don't think many workers are eager to return to big businesses' offices anytime soon to gain a sense of belonging.

It also bugs me that Gladwell's biggest successes have come from working at home and in coffee shops.

If it worked for him, why can't it work for other people?

True, writing a book isn't like most work, but look at the data.

While many CEOS are yelling for remote work to stop, they're ignoring the fact that remote work "works."

As Gleb Tsipursky, Disaster Avoidance Experts CEO, recently wrote: "We have extensive evidence showing that remote work is more productive than in-office work." How much more? A recent academic Working from Home Research survey found that people are 9% more productive when working from home.

Everywhere you look, whether we're talking about call centers, programmers, or the general workforce, people get more done when they work from home.

They know it, and they're happier there.

As, a workplace-occupancy analytics company, recently observed, fewer people than ever are commuting to the office four to five days a week. Instead, CEO Eldar Gizzatov wrote, "Employees prefer visiting the office just once a week. After all, "The pandemic has accustomed people to work remotely, and there is not a concrete reason in most professions to return to the offices."


Have trouble getting people to work on the same page?

That has more to do with using 20th-century meeting and organizing styles in a 21st-century remote work world. While video-conferencing fatigue is real, teams can work well together remotely.

My favorite example of this is a software project that began as "a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." That OS was, of course, Linux. The most important operating system on the planet was created by thousands of programmers working over e-mail and Git. They've been doing it from their home offices for 30 years now.

I think they're on to something.

The bottom line is that letting employees work from home is best for your staffers and your company.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise—even Malcolm Gladwell.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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