Remote work can unlock productivity or push burnout. Here’s how smart companies are planning for our ‘hybrid’ and WFH future.

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Prashant Hegde, senior director of product development at Zillow, used to be skeptical of allowing remote work or having fully remote employees on his team or at the company. He told Insider he felt it was a muscle the company didn’t have, so it wouldn’t work well.

As a product lead, he spends his days with engineers, designers, and marketing and customer success teams to ensure Zillow is continuously improving its offering. After going fully remote during the pandemic, Hegde acknowledged the need for a new approach to work.

“When you go back, there’s going to be this tendency to go back to the old normal, where you don’t know or didn’t have to think much about what it felt like to be a remote employee,” he said, “and we can’t do that.”

Zillow has publicly committed to supporting a “work-from-anywhere” model, where all employees are free to work from home as they wish, despite expenses that might come with it.

“I would say there was healthy tension with our employees for some time over that desire to have more flexibility,” Dan Spaulding, chief people officer at Zillow, told Insider. 

“We’ve really dedicated ourselves to taking the leap,” he added. “We think the world is going to be different coming out of this.”

In some ways, it already is. Burnout and fatigue are familiar themes of pandemic life; a recent Harvard Business Review survey found that 85% of 1,500 respondents felt their wellbeing had declined, while 89% had said their work life was worse off. Meetings are booming, workdays are lengthening. And at the same time, per recent LinkedIn survey data, 74% of employees are taking “shelter” in their current job as a way of mitigating risk during tumultuous times. 

While what it means to work from home isn’t going to be the same in post-pandemic life, these remote and hybrid — where you come into the office some of the time — work styles are likely to. But conflict is rising around the best way to do it without sacrificing quality, company success, or personal wellbeing.

“The risk of getting this wrong is one that you’re impacting people’s lives and careers,” Spaulding said.

Uneven buy-in for a bold new direction

The five-day work week has been a default since the Fair Labor Standards and Safety Act in 1938, but it now seems unlikely employers will ever go back to expecting employees to be in the office that whole time. Overwhelming survey data suggests little to no drops in productivity and improved employee morale as a result of remote work, in addition to some unexpected benefits such as being able to expand talent markets for recruiting and a more accessible workplace.

Companies have recognized these benefits, and like Zillow, some are moving to hybrid or fully remote working. Spotify is also letting employees work from anywhere.

However, corporate leaders still see a lot of risk in this model for work. Not all are fully bought in. Microsoft recently announced that all employees …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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