Biased Wheel: The Roulette of Remote vs. Return

Matthew Schmidt

After 15 months of pandemic-imposed isolation, we’re finally emerging (in most of the world!).  For companies big and small – there are now important decisions that we as leaders have to make as it relates to our people and our companies – some of which have Billions of dollars of consequences for making the wrong decision.  And unlike decisions about whether to open theaters or ballparks (based on science in many places) – they are being made without data.

In March of 2020, the world kicked off the biggest work from home experiment.  It was driven out of necessity but forced an evolutionary leap in our communications technology and tooling to be able to work from anywhere.  While technology companies have been well on their way to working in a distributed and cloud-based manner, scores of industries had to find their footing quickly in a whole new world and with an attempt to create a minimal negative impact to their businesses.   Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons that have surfaced:

Pros:

  • Potentially more productivity (varies greatly by company and industry and home situation)
  • More flexibility
  • Less commuting means more focus time
  • Greater access to the best talent regardless of location

Cons:

  • Potentially more distractions (varies greatly by company and industry and home situation)
  • More challenging to collaborate meaningfully
  • More meetings for simple things
  • More challenging for managers to engage their team

Now, if you were to ask any individual person or company whether the experience has been a good one, you will get as many different answers as there are people.  From these many and varied answers – and wading through all the noise and emotion around one choice or another – companies are expected to make decisions about how and whether they’ll keep operating millions or billions of dollars’ worth of real estate.  And while the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook may feel they have the data to make a decision about 2 days in the office or 3 – do you?

Here at Peoplelogic, we help companies uncover the truth in the data from their operations tools and make their teams more effective.  Lately, we’ve been working with quite a few consulting firms to help provide a data-driven layer to their engagements, and one of the biggest decisions that continues to surface is the need to understand the impact of returning to the office or working from home (naturally, given the environment!). 

Most of the organizations we work with who are spinning the roulette wheel as they make a return-to-work decision, whether to work remotely, hybrid, or fully in the office, initially base that decision on outside information or biased internal information.  Each organization has to make its own choices – using its own data – and Peoplelogic can help with that. 

Peoplelogic connects to APIs of the tools where work is actually happening to help you understand the signal – instead of the noise – around team productivity and helps you understand a baseline of your team’s performance — before making any dramatic changes.  Some of the signal we help you find might include:

  • Are my teams more productive in the office or at home?
  • How do I identify the important data across all my tools?
  • Why are my teams overloaded when we’ve doubled the team size this year?
  • How is my team impacting other teams in the organization?

Once you’ve obtained that baseline, Peoplelogic allows you to measure the impact of the changes you’re making – to ensure that you’re finding the right balance between the impact on the employee experience and the impact on your bottom line.

Your people are your most important asset to driving the success of your company – don’t you want to ensure you’re making a data driven decision that is as individualized as they are?

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