- November 15, 2017
- Posted by: David Marshall
- Category: business, management, productivity
This one is going to make me unpopular, especially with today’s modern marvels of broadband technology, video conferencing, and our ability to multi-task and work anywhere in the world.
I don’t believe in remote work for employees.
(Not a big shocker, I’m sure, since you already read the headline.)
But I believe that if you’re a small company, you need to be able to move quickly and rapidly. You need to be able to communicate with everyone at once, and I think the best way to do that is with email. Even so, nothing beats face-to-face communication when it comes to making the most effective, most efficient change directly.
A small company can effect change in minutes and hours, rather than days and months. However, that doesn’t always happen for remote work situations.
For one thing, remote workers can sometimes be on different time zones and don’t get your messages until a few hours, or even many hours, later. But you at least have a better chance of having people in the same time zone seeing your email when you send it.
But more importantly, remote work can kill a company’s culture. A company can live or die on their culture alone.
One thing I always found that helped culture building was being able to immediately celebrate a success. I saw that it got everybody’s spirits up whenever we celebrated a big win. But people who work remotely don’t get that same sense of belonging and raised spirits through an email.
For example, a little thing I instituted at Robroy was that when a high-value order over a certain amount came into the building, a bell was rung and could be heard throughout the entire operation. That way, everyone immediately knew we had received an especially big order, which created a positive chatter around the place: Who was the customer? Was it a good order? Who closed it?
But if anyone was doing remote work, they wouldn’t have gotten to experience that bell and that rush of excitement if they had just heard about it in an email.
Being in an office with other people eliminates the feeling of isolation. I know full well the feeling of isolation. When you feel isolated your emotion sinks, and you have a tendency of thinking the worst instead of thinking the most positive.
So being around other people, even having a brief chat around the office coffee machine, can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you think about those people. But if you’re in management, it’s much easier to have those people around and they can all act on new information very quickly, instead of sending a chain of back-and-forth emails dealing with a new policy or big new order.
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Used with permission)