My recent article on Remote Work is already the second most read of the 832 articles I’ve published on Forbes. It’s already received over 650,000 views and over 100 blisteringly negative comments making it clear that remote work is a highly emotional issue.
My editor asked me to summarize and respond to the comments. That response will surprise many of those that commented because, taken as a whole, those blisteringly negative comments reinforce my main point that working remote is likely better for most individuals. The trouble is that if everyone does it, the corporate culture gets sacrificed. Thus leaders need to shy away from the false choice of remote vs live work and figure out ways to support their people and build their culture with people working both remote and live.
Here’s what those commenting said and my conclusions.
What They Said
Remote work is real work and here to stay
“Working remotely is work”
“I’m sure this was just part of a larger movement by out of touch corporate leadership to try to re-exert control over a workforce they have lost autonomy over. Good luck with that. We won’t be forced back into doing what you want, so get ready to finish paying that office lease whether people are in the building or not.”
Managers need to be deliberate about how they engage with individuals working live and remotely AND how they evolve their cultures
“Building culture was a problem when everyone was in the office, and building culture in a more remote world takes just as much effort, albeit with some modified tactics.
“In a remote-first environment, you have to be deliberate about how you engage. It’s as simple as that. There is no substitute for face time, but you can definitely do things to offset the liabilities around remote-first work environments.”
“An employee can have buy-in for a company’s mission and culture (what the company actually is) without that physical aspect.”
I’m a bad person and this is a bad article
“Horrific,” “ludicrous,” “bizarre,” “baseless,” “bologna,” “doesn’t make any sense,” “misleading,” “pedantic,” “obviously has an agenda,” “disingenuous,” “out-of-touch,” “what a loser,” “what a crock!”
And, quoting exactly as written, “This author is not a good write No wonder he holds these flawed opinions. Gotta have a supervisor watching him type, to make sure he types enough words per second. At home he has no discipline.”
So What – Conclusions
The article touched a nerve. While there’s a logical case to be made for working remotely, the stronger case is the emotional one.
As I’ve said before, happiness is good – three goods: doing good for others, things I’m good at and good for me.
The people you want working for you, the people that are going to band together to make your enterprise soar, are most likely driven by doing good for others. They will buy into your purpose, your mission, your why.
You’re only going to get the best out of them if you help them do more of the things they are good at and help them continually get better at those things.
And you’ll only keep them over time if they believe what they are going is good for them and the people they care about. Denying those that want to work remotely with the inherent flexibility that gives to their work-life balance goes against this emotional tide. The tide turned long ago as more and more people did work outside of work hours and personal tasks inside of work hours.
And as, I said in the working remotely article, you can’t fight the tide.
Take heed of the blisteringly negative comments I received. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Instead, be deliberate about how you engage with individuals working live and remotely and build your culture with both. Intentionally invest in all of those things. Enable remote work and bring people together physically one way or another from time to time.
With that said, I still don’t think I’m really a bad person and that was a bad article. So you don’t have to take heed of those particular comments.
Click here for a categorized list of my Forbes articles (of which this is #833)