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Managers Often Fear That Remote Work Will Hinder Collaboration; Might the Opposite Be True?

  • Managers often worry that remote work will not allow adequate collaboration among team members
  • A recent opinion piece in Entrepreneur argues that that remote work can actually be more beneficial for teams’ productivity
  • Avoiding office distractions and efforts to strengthen team relationships can have a positive impact

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

When remote work became widespread at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders generally found that their fears that workers would not be as productive when working from home were unfounded. Yet there are lingering concerns that shifting to more permanent and hybrid work might inhibit collaboration among employees.

A recent piece in Entrepreneur from Bill Packer, the chief operating officer at the mortgage lender American Financial Resources, suggests that remote options can actually improve how well teams work together. Packer suggests that the idea that spontaneous interactions and brainstorming among employees is largely overstated, especially when collaboration needs to occur across different silos.

Packer also says remote interactions can help employees be more flexible and creative about how they manage their time. Working from home can also potentially be a more productive environment since it avoids common distractions such as office gossip.

Companies should still work to develop strategies to forge bonds among team members, Packer recommends, through options such as one-on-one phone conversations and scheduled in-person meetings. Leaders can also solicit employee feedback to better understand what work options employees are most comfortable with and how they feel they work best.

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