A major activity these days involves the struggle over hybrid work; deciding the split between working at home and in the office. Many teleworkers want to do it at home full time. Most employers are more concerned with getting them back into the office at least some of the time. The big question is: how much of each works best.
The answer, of course, is: it depends.
Here’s an intro to the topic, courtesy of ChatGPT. When I asked the AI about the overall personal requirements for successful tele/remote-working, here’s what I got, in about 40 seconds.
The ChatGPT view
Telework or remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing people to work from the comfort of their own homes or anywhere with an internet connection. While telework offers many benefits such as increased flexibility and reduced commute time, it also requires specific personal qualities and skills to be successful. In this essay, I will discuss the most important personal requirements for being successful at telework or remote work.
The first and most important requirement is self-discipline. When working remotely, it’s easy to get distracted by personal tasks, family members, or even social media. Successful teleworkers must be able to stay focused and avoid distractions to complete their work effectively. This means setting up a dedicated workspace, adhering to a strict schedule, and avoiding distractions during working hours. It also means being able to manage time effectively and prioritize tasks to meet deadlines.
The second important requirement is communication skills. When working remotely, communication is often done through email, instant messaging, or video calls. Effective communication is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and work is progressing as planned. Teleworkers should be able to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas, ask for clarification when needed, and be responsive to messages in a timely manner. This includes not only communicating with coworkers but also with managers and clients.
The third requirement is adaptability. Working remotely can come with unexpected challenges, such as technical difficulties or changes in work requirements. Successful teleworkers must be adaptable and able to quickly adjust to new situations. This means being willing to learn new software or tools, being flexible with schedules, and being open to feedback and constructive criticism.
The fourth requirement is time management skills. With remote work, there is often less structure and oversight compared to a traditional office setting. This means that teleworkers must be able to manage their time effectively, plan their day, and stay organized. This includes setting realistic goals and deadlines, using calendars and scheduling tools, and prioritizing tasks to ensure that everything gets done on time.
The fifth requirement is motivation. Without the traditional office environment and colleagues to keep them motivated, teleworkers must be able to motivate themselves. This means setting personal goals, staying engaged with the work, and finding ways to stay connected with coworkers and the organization’s mission. Successful teleworkers must be able to maintain their enthusiasm for their work and remain focused on achieving their objectives.
The sixth requirement is a willingness to learn and grow. Remote work often requires learning new skills, tools, and software to be effective. Successful teleworkers must be willing to invest time and effort in their own professional development and growth. This means taking courses, attending webinars or conferences, and seeking feedback from colleagues and managers.
In conclusion, telework or remote work offers many benefits, but it also requires specific personal qualities and skills to be successful. The most important personal requirements for being successful at telework or remote work include self-discipline, communication skills, adaptability, time management skills, motivation, and a willingness to learn and grow. By developing these personal qualities and skills, teleworkers can enjoy the benefits of remote work and contribute effectively to their organizations.
Deciding the split
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ChatGPT output since it pretty much covers what I’ve learned myself over the past few decades. What’s missing are the nuances of the communications skills part. That is the key to solving the hybrid question. When are non-face-to-face communications not enough? When is that telework technological link between people not rich enough?
My experience tells me that an average split is about half and half for many teleworkers; half at home, the other half in the office or some other mutual meeting place. New employees need more in-office time in order to become more familiar with the organization’s culture, team members and key contacts. Older, more experienced employees may do very well with mostly home-working time.
But that’s the average over at least a few weeks. Depending on circumstances some weeks may be full time one way or other. As communication technology becomes even more transparent I expect that average to slowly shift toward 60% or more time working from home.
When we first started testing telecommuting we were only looking at one day per week working from home or a telework center. Over the years the trend continues to favor home rather than office.
There are many more combinations that will occur over the coming years but we are seeing some settling happen. Keep evolving!