Mediocre workers have nowhere to hide


Will mediocre employees thrive when they work from home or in the office? I never thought about this issue before the pandemic, but if I thought about it, I might guess that second-rate prefer to check in at home.

This is of course recommended by some senior managers, as the pace of refilling Covid’s empty office has accelerated this year. Work from home is suitable”Lowest participation“, according to WeWork’s boss Sandeep Mathrani. For the enthusiasm forHustle and bustle“, said Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase.

But what if the other way around? Max Thowless-Reeves is a former UBS private banker who runs his own wealth management company in Stafford, north of Birmingham. He is a visiting teaching assistant at Aston Business School.

Not long ago, he wrote A letter To the Financial Times that requested the arrest. “Mediocrity is hidden in the office,” he said, adding that when everyone is working remotely, it is easier to determine which employees add the most value. When I called him last week to ask why, he said something interesting. During the pandemic, his company began to use Google Docs more, which meant that people could work on the same materials at the same time in their respective homes.

“You can see everyone typing on the same document,” he said, adding that this means you can also see who responded quickly to queries, or made useful suggestions, or did it in general Made a contribution-and who didn’t.

“We just figured out-and not in advance-which team members really pushed us forward,” he said.

His company has only 15 employees, but his experience is worth remembering. Just because someone is in the office, in front of you, does not mean they are doing anything as useful as hard work, but invisibly, at home. The debate did not end there.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a retired businessman in England who was trying to finalize three separate real estate transactions. His parents have recently passed away, leaving enough money for each of his two children to mortgage the first house in London. Therefore, in addition to selling his parents’ house, he also helped his two offspring buy real estate in London.

This means that he has to deal with three groups of real estate agents, surveyors, mortgage lenders, and lawyers, all of whom have worked at home for a period of time and provided what he called “an amazing and unprofessional level of continuous service.”

This includes: searches for wrong properties; wrong selling prices on important contracts; wrong deadlines on mortgage applications and wrong names entered in documents. Worst of all, a lawyer failed to withdraw the necessary mortgage funds in time to complete, leaving one of his children at risk of losing their savings and becoming homeless.

So are the workers mediocre or are there other reasons? This person thinks that remote work itself may be the problem.

He said: “I think working from home makes the balance chaotic,” he added, adding that people may be overwhelmed and have to deal with it alone. The job of a lawyer he had used 3 times without any problems in the past-when she was working in the office-is now “wounded” and now she is homeless.

Of course, he is an isolated case. But this coincides with some results of a study that investigated the conditions of more than 10,000 employees of a large Asian technology company before and after Covid forced them to go home.

The researchers found that the total working hours Skyrocketing About 30%, which includes a lot of work done outside of normal working hours.

However, the extra working hours did not bring about any increase in output, so the study concluded that overall productivity has dropped by about 20%.

This does not necessarily make the skeptics working from home correct. The study did not directly measure the quality of the work done. All of this underscores the complexity of the great Covid remote work experiment-and why it is too early to draw firm conclusions on this.

pilita.clark@ft.com

Twitter: @pilitaclark





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