Banning remote working is lazy

I sat down last week to catch up on some reading from First Round Review, and clicked into an interview on leadership with One Medical’s VP of marketing, Vanessa Hope Schneider. I started off enjoying it and nodding along, until I got to her fourth point.

Here, she shares how she noticed the marketing team worked from home on Fridays. She says, “I felt that it was one of my responsibilities as a leader of the team to be our team publicist. I’m representing them and I need to make sure that other leaders in our company know — and see — the great work they’re doing. So when I took my role, I said to everyone: ‘We’ll work from the office. Five days a week.’“

In my head, I was shouting, “NO, NO, NO!”

I’ve had similar conversations with other managers, too. Why is it that having your butt in one specific chair will result in a positive publicity campaign? 

Banning remote work is a lazy way to solve an unrelated problem. It’s a quick fix that doesn’t get to the root of what needs to be changed. 

Writes Schneider, “I’ve learned that people outside our team don't know enough of what we do. I will work hard to be a megaphone myself, but we need to show them collectively. This is a publicity campaign on behalf of our own team.”

As marketers, you are not physically in front of your prospects and customers all day. Why should it be different internally? How can you demonstrate your team’s prowess in other ways – like through your outputs? 

At the end of the day, the work your team completes, the problems they solve and the ongoing results from that work are what matter. It does not matter who physically sees the work happening. 

Remote is the future of the workforce. There are numerous benefits for remote employees, as well as employers. 

Technology exists now to enable completely remote teams, and numerous companies have successfully implemented remote working and scaled their programs.

And guess what? These companies are successful, employees are productive and happy, and the world didn’t end.

So, don’t think calling employees into the office will magically improve morale, boost performance and make your team’s work visible. If leadership doesn’t know marketing’s impact on the business, there’s more to the story.

Want to work somewhere that believes in remote work? Let’s talk.

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