Working from home vs. in the office

| By:
Peter Melby

“Entrepreneur”: a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. 

Entrepreneurs are, by nature and definition, risk-takers. I’d argue that this mentality extends beyond financial risks. “I'll do my own thing.” But what happens when “doing your own thing” isn’t the best approach?  

Pre-COVID-19, 7 million people worked remotely in the U.S. (3.4%) of the population. 

Like everyone else, Greystone Technology rode the roller coaster of switching from primarily working in the office to working from home as required due to COVID-19 restrictions. While our team was used to flexibility in their work location, this was the first time they were experiencing working from home full time.

Did you know that 90% of employees say that flexibility in their work arrangements contributes to their morale? So, the question is not whether to allow your employees to continue working from home or not. Or even, as an entrepreneur, if you’re comfortable with the risk of going back to the office due to the decline in COVID-19 cases in your area. It’s whether your actions are helping or hurting your company’s morale. 

Are you a boss or a babysitter? 

Yes, there are instances where employees need to be onsite to accomplish a job. We’re navigating the best approach to ensure everyone’s health and safety for those situations as well. But there are many other instances where a job can be done from anywhere, thanks to technology. Yet management insists on employees returning to the office.  

Even more importantly, company culture doesn’t have to suffer when teams work remotely. Many companies have struggled when employees no longer are together, because their culture is founded on shallow things like beer in the fridge, a cool office, and a good vacation policy. Healthy, sustainable culture is based on trusting, mature relationships. These connections can still be fostered with remote employees.

Those who still oppose working from home, in my experience, are those who tend to micromanage. The more we micromanage our employees, the less they think on their own and the more micromanagement they need. This vicious circle is a miserable place to be. We call it the “Babysitter’s Club.” 

Most of us have joined the Babysitter’s Club at some point, but we can choose to cancel our membership by working on building a company culture built on trust. 

Our employees are grateful that they’re not being forced to return to the office as they see a fair amount of employers who are doing precisely that, or even restricting remote work options during COVID. How can this approach lead to long-term success?

Don’t add to the stress your employees are facing. People are struggling individually through different personal situations. Some have lost family members and friends, others have battled COVID personally, those with kids have made the tough decision to juggle work and homeschooling or send their kids back to school in person, and those who live alone may be feeling isolated. 

While the world is experiencing COVID-19 together, we’re not all in the same boat. We’re in the same storm. Each individual has a unique experience. 

Let’s try to support each other as we anxiously await what 2021 has to offer.