Work from home

The value your business is not getting due to remote working

Many small business owners were sent reeling due to stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were told that, unless you are essential, you are to shut your doors and allow your workers to telecommute (work from home). In the beginning, it seemed easy enough; pack up your laptop and forward your work phone to your cell phone while we figure out how to use Zoom. It felt great to be able to adapt to the new requirements, but we quickly learned that working from home can be quite harmful to an organization.

Relationships

Relationships devolve without four things, all of which take effort and connection. An “endeavor in a common cause” may still exist, but the other three things that are necessary to maintain a relationship — enough conversation, time spent together and trust — do not.

It has become far more difficult to have a meaningful conversation and make an emotional personal connection of any kind over Zoom or a telephone call. Supervisors get almost no one-on-one time to thank, correct, share, or encourage their team members.

Social interaction

Social interaction is strongly correlated with workplace satisfaction, which is lost while working from home. Everyday peer-to-peer interactions do not warrant scheduling when we are in the office. Working remotely now requires those interactions to be scheduled, and therefore, they rarely occur. When working remotely, the attachment to each other is lost.

Mental health

Having a commute home allows employees to detach from the stress that jobs can create. When you work from home, that transition is no longer there, and without time to decompress, the line between work life and home life becomes blurred.

Work from home distractions

On a recent Zoom call with a colleague, I was asked, “Can you wait a minute? I need to go help my wife with the groceries.” I am not kidding; that happened right in the middle of a productive meeting.

I do not blame the employee for this. To our family, it simply looks we are home, and therefore we can help. If you have small children, they really do not understand the difference between working from home and just being home. In this environment, it is inevitable that the production of your team will drop. If you looked hard enough at some of your monthly reports, you could probably identify that that opinion is based on facts.

At my company, we watched all our numbers trend the wrong way while our team worked remotely; sales were down, hiring was down and customer complaints were up. Once we returned to the office, we watched all those trends immediately correct themselves. It was fascinating to watch the positive impact of being together in the office daily.

Are you thinking that your company is just fine with working from home forever? Before you make that decision, find a way to measure the output of your team while working from home versus working in the office. I’m confident those numbers will speak for themselves.

Dennis W. Lejeck is president and founder of Black Knight Security