Let’s Talk ‘Remote Work.’ Do We Need the Office?

This is actually a moment to reconsider how people work. Where people go wrong is when they try to simulate working in an office, but just remotely: same number of meetings, same number of people in meetings, just via videoconferencing.

That’s not taking advantage of the potential benefit of remote work: asynchronous work, meaning that you don’t have to do everything in real time anymore.

You can give people more time back during the day—long stretches of uninterrupted time where they can do more creative work.

An advantage of remote work is that it (typically) eliminates many of the interruptions of the office: noise, people tapping you on the shoulder, and intermittent meetings.


Some managers may wonder how you know work is getting done if you can’t see people. The only way to see if work is getting done is to look at the work. Since people don’t have to look “busy” at home, they can produce work on their own schedule—so it should be a more relaxing way to get work done, once you get over the hump of the unfamiliar.


You realize it’s quieter, with fewer interruptions, less distraction, and you have your own time and space. Under typical circumstances, those are the real benefits of remote working. People should seek those moments out and not try to simulate what you do in an office (in terms of meetings and daily structure).


It’s funny, most companies outsource lawyers or accountants which means they work remotely. We trust professionals to get their work done, and that’s how we should be treating employees. Trust your employees to get their work done.

"We trust professionals to get their work done, and that’s how we should be treating employees. Trust your employees to get their work done."


This is a break in momentum. Momentum can be powerful: doing today what I did yesterday because it worked. A lot of companies are on autopilot, without taking time to reconsider how they do things. When something knocks you off course—this is as off-course as we could imagine—it gives people a moment to look around and see what needs to change. We don’t need to do everything as we did in the office. What happens if we don’t?


My take on how to evaluate this is: how does it feel? It’s not about numbers or measuring productivity or deadlines or number of meetings.

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