Moe Vela, chief transparency officer with TransparentBusiness, argues that companies can realize a number of business advantages by continuing to work from home when the pandemic subsides.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently was quoted as declaring that working from home has “no positives.” Vela disagrees. “I’m in a state of shock that he would have made such a bold and erroneous statement,” he says.
Employers have advanced a number of arguments against the practice of long-term remote work. One is that a scattered workforce loses the ability to collaborate, brainstorm and exchange ideas. “You don’t need to be in the same room to do that,” counters Vela, who has been taking part in virtual meetings for years. He acknowledges that employers and employees alike can become accustomed to the way things have always been done. “I don’t deny that there’s a sense of security and comfort, maybe an enhanced sense of connectivity, when you’re in person with another human being,” he says. “But we can connect, and I can feel emotion, through a video conference.”
Employers also worry about whether remote workers are as productive as they once were in the shared workplace. There’s the impulse to closely monitor employees as they carry out the job. But Vela cites studies showing that workers are actually more productive in a remote setting than in a traditional work environment, where there are just as many distractions and excuses for slacking off as one might find at home.
Still, it can be tough for remote workers to separate work from the rest of their lives. Vela says they need to create spaces within the home that are dedicated to work. At the same time, he recommends drawing a clear line between the working day and other interests, to avoid stress and burnout.