Apple is the latest example of how remote work fights have gone crazy

The emerging corporate pushback (otherwise, unfortunately, known as working from home) against working from a distance is not something that is self-destructive and bizarre. I say this because it comes at the same time that enterprises struggle to attract and retain the talent they need when there is a great lack of talent.

It was as if the C-level execs had argued to their board: “This staff shortage is hurting us badly and it must be fixed. But as long as we’re here, let’s weaken our remote staffing policy and make the deficit worse. ”

Apple is a great example because the nature of its operations is perfectly suited to a distributed workforce and it has seen firsthand all the benefits over the last two years – and there is virtually no downside -. And yet, “let’s get our workers back to the corporate buildings” it sank into the rabbit hole.

Talented Employees across Apple have protested against this And its highly sought after Director of machine learning resigns, citing remote-site reversal.

Apple – or any other enterprise – argued that material failures in remote sites forced this change, which could be different. If it argues that efficiency has been reduced (it didn’t happen), work quality has been damaged (it didn’t), managers have struggled to get their team to follow instructions (they didn’t), then maybe it won’t be one-sided.

The truth is, however, that remote sites have generally done an admirable job. There was an expected IT cost to set up everyone safely, but that money has now been spent and it is not coming back. This does not mean, however, that “we had to bear these new costs in the previous phase of Covid, but those costs are no longer reasonable.”

These programs also provide all the promised benefits: happy employees; Less time wasted (and once we drastically reduce unnecessary video conferencing, time will be wasted) and employees who can translate these travel times to work more, sleep more and improve their work / life balance.

Maintenance (as opposed to creating) This kind of program has minimal cost, no barriers and helps to create a happy workplace. Therefore, Apple and others must definitely try and stop it.

To resolve and eliminate a minor argument, it is clear that site presence is required for a few locations, such as some assembly-line staff, building security, cafeteria staff, building maintenance, and eliminators. But for enterprises today, the lion’s share of workers – especially professionals – can work perfectly well most of the time.

Apple started making it mandatory one day a week in a headquarters building, then it did it twice, and on May 23 it did it three days a week. That makes no sense for most positions. There is a better way to deal with it. Here’s how the policy should be: “If there is a complex reason for a particular employee to be at the headquarters, the manager of that employee will discuss it separately. Managers will be instructed that this must be an important factor which must be done, can only be done at the head office and can only be done by that employee. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. “

In other words, an employee needs to have a specific reason for traveling in a corporate building. It doesn’t come close to “Thursday”. Once / twice / three times a week – arbitrary. It should be close, “although you need a lot of time to do your work based on the written opinion of your supervisor. You can, of course, appeal that decision to the chain of command. The last thing we want is for someone to enter when there is no need.

Many enterprise executives feel more comfortable interacting personally, as this is probably most of what they have done throughout their careers. In their minds, this is how business is done.

COVID-19 is part of the confusion. The virus is still very much with us and will probably stay with us year after year, if not forever. Did the flu run its course and disappear?

There is confusion here: it was Covid who forced the enterprises to go far now. It’s not the reason for the remote. In fact, it should have been given a few years ago, but at least now it is being done.

Once executives realize internally that the epidemic is not the only cause of persuasion and remoteness, they will see a temporary relaxation in the COVID-19 case as a reason to thin the remote.

And there is still the problem of recruiting / retaining that talent. Why harm happy employees at a time when efficiency, better work / life balance, staff recruitment is a problem? If operators want more workers in their buildings, start slowly. Start with: “So far, all employees and contractors who want to return to corporate buildings are welcome to do so. Please do it safely, but come back anyway, if you want. “

It should not dampen morale and it should not force anyone to leave the company. And yet it gets more people in the office.

Far behind this movement is probably a vague belief among some executives that creativity and ideas have been shared. Can they prove it? And if so, is there a way to solve that problem that is shy of gutting a successful remote program?

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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