Genioux knowledge fact condensed as an image.
Condensed knowledge 10
- Are all-remote or majority-remote organizations the future of knowledge work? Is work from anywhere (WFA) here to stay? To better understand how leaders can capture the upside of WFA while overcoming the challenges and avoiding negative outcomes, I have studied several companies that have embraced all- or majority-remote models. They include the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO (which has several thousand WFA workers); Tulsa Remote; Tata Consultancy Services, or TCS (a global IT services company that has announced a plan to be 75% remote by 2025); GitLab (the world’s largest all-remote company, with 1,300 employees); Zapier (a workflow automation company with more than 300 employees, none of them colocated, around the United States and in 23 other countries); and MobSquad (a Canadian start-up that employs WFA workers).
- The Covid-19 crisis has opened senior leaders’ minds to the idea of adopting WFA for all or part of their workforces. In addition to TCS, companies including Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, Siemens, and State Bank of India have announced that they will make remote work permanent even after a vaccine is available. Another organization I’ve studied is BRAC, one of the world’s largest NGOs, which is headquartered in Bangladesh. Forced into remote work this year, it is deciding what work model to adopt for the long term.
- Thanks to the advent of personal computers, the internet, email, broadband connectivity, laptops, cell phones, cloud computing, and videotelephony, the adoption of WFH increased in the 2000s. As the researchers Ravi S. Gajendran and David A. Harrison note in a 2007 article, this trend was accelerated by the need to comply with, for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and mandates of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Research has shown performance benefits. A 2015 study by Nicholas Bloom and coauthors found that when employees opted in to WFH policies, their productivity increased by 13%. When, nine months later, the same workers were given a choice between remaining at home and returning to the office, those who chose the former saw even further improvements: They were 22% more productive than they had been before the experiment. This suggests that people should probably determine for themselves the situation (home or office) that fits them best.
- Millennials in particular seemed captivated by the idea that WFA would allow them to become “digital nomads,” traveling the world while still employed. Before the pandemic-related restrictions, some companies, such as Remote Year, were aiming to facilitate that lifestyle, and some countries, such as Estonia and Barbados, have created a new class of employment visa for such workers. As one patent examiner said, “Participation in [WFA] is outstanding for work/life balance. I live in my favorite part of the country…I have more time to relax.”
- WFA organizations must therefore get comfortable with asynchronous communication, whether through a Slack channel, a customized intracompany portal, or even a shared Google document in which geographically distributed team members write their questions and comments and trust that other team members in distant time zones will respond at the first opportunity.
- All-remote and majority-remote organizations I have studied are experimenting with a wide range of solutions to protect client data using predictive analytics, data visualization, and computer vision.
Category 1: A new, better world for everyone
[genioux fact extracted from HBR]
Authors of the genioux fact
Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury (Harvard Business School, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) is the Lumry Family Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School. He was an Assistant Professor at Wharton prior to joining Harvard. His research is focused on studying the Future of Work, especially the changing Geography of Work. In particular, he studies the productivity effects of geographic mobility of workers, causes of geographic immobility and productivity effects of remote work practices such as ‘Work from anywhere’ and ‘All-remote’.