Elon Musk was in hot water again this week with the Twitterati after insisting that all Tesla’s employees must return to the office. He believes that Tesla’s employees should be in the office working alongside the factory workers who are fulfilling roles that cannot be done remotely.
This “we’re in it together” attitude to work has more in common with fully remote work advocates than you might think. Here’s why. Alignment is essential to any high performing team. Alignment comes from shared goals, a common culture, enabled through consistent lines of communication and mutual trust.
A two-tier system with some people in ‘the office’ and some people working remotely does not foster aligned teams. I interview several employees working in hybrid environments every week. They all report that same thing. Communications are a mess. Vast amounts of time is wasted on administering hybrid systems. Managers are treating people like children taking the register to see how many days staff are in the office.
As a result, alignment in hybrid environments is down and the cost of implementing a hybrid model is increasing the cost on business both in time and admin. Wasting time and resources that could be spent on more productive things like generating more results for customers.
On the flip side, fully remote models are breeding similar levels of alignment as fully office-based teams with the added benefit of being able to draw talent from wider afield and no commute.
Like Musk we hold an absolute position but for us it is having a totally remote team. We have no office although all our employees have access to co-working spaces if they want it. Where our employees ultimately choose to work from is their business. But by taking this absolute position we end up with similar benefits of a fully office-based team. We are all in it together. There is no two-tier system. There are no outsiders. Or as I like to say, when everyone is remote, no one feels remote.
There is something intrinsically egalitarian about insisting all employees must work in the same way, whether that be in the office, or remotely. Mixed hybrid models have rudimentary shortcomings that are obvious to everyone working in them. Hybrid models are also credited with creating all manner of disadvantages for those less able to make it to the office. Out of sight, out of mind.
No one, starting with a blank sheet of paper, would build a business around a hybrid model. Businesses who have moved to a hybrid model have done so out of pragmatism, to try to keep everyone happy, to make use of that office lease, or because they just don’t fully trust their employees to go to a fully remote model.
Those companies who insist on egalitarian models of work should be applauded not ridiculed. Whether they are fully office-based or fully remote. But at Tyto, we are team remote.
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