He also took the same approach to SpaceX And Tesla where he wants office workers for at least 40 hours a week. How come? Because he thinks his employees are more productive in the office, or rather, lazier when they work from home.
“All the homey Covid stuff has got people thinking there’s actually no need to work hard,” she wrote on Chirpinglast year.
His point of view is bold but not uncommon.
Salesforce cofounder and CEO Marc Benioff recently complained in a company-wide Slack note that new remote hires have a productivity problem. He added, “Aren’t we building tribal acquaintances with new employees without an office culture?”
In the meantime, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz both welcomed their staff back after the Christmas holidays by honking their back-to-work horn.
Are telecommuters really lazy?
There’s a chance that the lack of a morning commute and cooler moments, like walking up to a coworker’s desk or going out to get a sandwich, could result in remote workers being less physically active.
But that’s not the kind of “laziness” CEOs are worried about.
Unfortunately, research doesn’t point to a one-size-fits-all answer, and neither do workers and their bosses agree on this matter.
Despite searching from Microsoft finding that most workers believe they are the same productive when they work from home, only 12% of managers fully trust their remote team members to be productive. Meanwhile, Glassdoor discovered that 1 in 2 full-time remote workers said they were more productive because of the way they worked.
The discrepancy could be due to the fact that, as reported in Fortuneworkers add the commute to their mental calculation of their productivity, while managers do not.
However, studies have consistently shown that remote working is good for productivity which is why many businesses are opting for a hybrid solution.
“Someone’s workplace doesn’t automatically correlate with their work ethic,” insists Cheryl Naumann, chief human resources officer at the University of Phoenix.
Before the pandemic and “remote working,” there was always that one person who could find any excuse not to work: the slacker who took many languid coffee breaks and loitered around desks that weren’t his. At least one remote timewaster isn’t simultaneously wasting everyone else’s time in the process.
But the point is that, in the office or at home, there will always be “lazy” workers.
How to make your team more productive
As noted by Benioff, “new team members are generally less productive,” echoes Jill Cotton, career counseling expert at Glassdoor.
“Therefore, an efficient onboarding process is critical to getting employees through their first six months and beyond at a company,” he adds.
He also says that the “knowledge exchanges” that would normally take place in the office need to be considered for remote workers. This is especially important for new hires who are fresh out of education or switching industries, who may not know what best practice actually is.
“Productivity relies on feedback, mentorship, and strong personal relationships between team members,” Cotton says, adding that “companies need to implement structures that allow remote workers access to each of these things to perform at their best.”
Naumann agrees that “maintaining regular communication with team members as manager of remote personnel is even more critical.”
Whether an employee works remotely or in the office, the same basic principle applies: To be successful in their role, employees must meet the goals set by their manager.
Therefore, it is incumbent on managers to ensure that workers meet their productivity expectations.
“Managers, including those of teleworkers, still need to train, lead, motivate, manage and measure work. Set clear expectations for remote workers around login and logout times, scheduling flexibility, and daily deliverables, to ensure the success of the remote working relationship,” Naumann adds.
But managers shouldn’t fall into the trap of painting productivity with too broad a brush.
“Every individual, team or organization is different and the requirements for productivity are different, so it’s important to outline what it looks like for everyone so it’s easier to identify where there may be gaps or declines,” says James Berry, director of the MBA at Dell. ‘UCL.
For example, an employee walking into the office, may not reach the same amount as a head down employee at home. Likewise, someone in the office who has bounced around colleagues may come to meetings with more ideas than remote workers.
“To address this, it’s incumbent on leadership teams to create results-based goals for employees and hold them to those results-based outcomes instead of a universal idea of what productivity looks like,” adds Berry.
Only by knowing the people behind the screens in your remote team can you take a tailored approach to measuring their productivity, instead of a one-size-fits-all solution doomed to fail.