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In the Age of HR Communication Video, Is Working from Home a Dying Trend?

Ben Renner

Ben Renner

studies and statisticsIt seemed that, especially with the widespread use of HR communication video, working from home or working remotely would be the trend of the future, then IBM announced it was bringing its remote workers back to the office.

IBM announced it wanted thousands of its remote workers back in the office almost seven months ago. Since then, the reaction has been mixed. Many remote workers find their productivity actually increasing when they’re not distracted by the normal office routines and rituals. But some studies find the opposite. Remote workers have to spend time trying to reach colleagues and often get just as distracted at home as they would at the office. That’s why HR communication video has become so popular and even essential for some organizations to communicate with and monitor their remote workers.

Is It More or Less Productive to Work From Home?

Too often, when studying the data behind productivity at home versus the office, the results are contradictory. It seems to depend on who you ask. But maybe instead of deciding who to ask to determine the answer to this quandary, it’s better to decide what types of jobs are more successful for remote workers and which are less successful. Jobs that favor personal productivity, such as number of sales closed, customer complaints resolved, or articles written, can be done remotely and often lend themselves to higher productivity when the employees are performing their jobs away from the office. These workers have clear personal production goals and all they need to reach them is a quiet space to perform their tasks. The less distractions they have, the more productive they are, and the healthier they are. Jobs emphasizing collaboration and teamwork are more difficult to do from home. While HR communication video can help, the work that has to go into each interaction, whether it’s a planning session, collaboration on a specific project, or brainstorming, is more significant than going to a meeting or standing by the water cooler at work.

HR Communication Video Is No Replacement for Human Contact

A writer like me needs quiet and solitude to be most productive, but whenever I collaborate on a project, I like to see my team members face-to-face. Videos and live streaming are great ways to substitute some of the collaborative work that goes into meetings and strategy sessions, but at some point, collaborative projects work best when all the parties are close to one another. This could be a major reason for why IBM is calling its remote workers back to the office. Instead of investing increasing amounts of resources in even the best, most efficient remote communication platforms, IBM chose to cut costs (and possibly workers) by calling them back to the office.

So… Should You Let Your Employees Work from Home?

remote workerAgain, the data is a little uneven and somewhat inconclusive, but it seems that the type of job your employees are doing should determine whether or not they should work from home. The discrepancy of the data also suggests that work-from-home allowances should be based on individuals and the unique situations of those individuals in the company. If you have a salesman who is killing it in the office, maybe he or she should stay there and avoid the distractions of walking the dog, putting clothes in the washing machine, or running out to the store. As always, the best decisions are made with the most information and insight into each unique situation.

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