Not everyone is a fan of the hybrid working model. One of the only vocal critics of this working style is: GitLab head of remote Darren Murphy. He claims it is a “recipe for disaster”.
Murph is highly skeptical of the Big Tech companies and other companies that claim that hybrid is the ‘best of both worlds’. As an early leader of the remote work revolution, Murph points out that business leaders are unaware of the chaos and dysfunction associated with a dual work environment.
The chief remote officer is issuing a dire warning, predicting that offices will become the epicenters of power and that not everyone will have the same amount of time to lead. Hybrid work stifles transparency and makes team members feel separated from conversations with water coolers. You will feel like a second class citizen when you are at home while others are in the office.
Choose from the office or remotely – you can’t have both
Rather than going hybrid, Murph recommends organizations commit to either an all-office—which he’s not a fan of—or a remote-first program. He states that in the current phase, which is characterized by a hot job market with more than 11 million vacancies available and a record 4.5 million people quit their job last month, there are more choices for job seekers.
This could lead some companies to capitalize on this trend by rolling out a third-party option to attract, hire, and retain employees. The logic makes sense; However, if the company doesn’t have a good plan to manage a combination of remote and office work, it can lead to significant challenges in the long run. There can be unintended consequences, such as the alienation of both office and teleworkers, which ultimately leaves people for other opportunities.
The clash and FOMO between remote people and office workers
There is a built-in imbalance between those who go to an office and those at home. It starts in the morning. A secluded person wakes up and doesn’t have to commute for an hour or more. They will be at work while the office workers are still trapped in overcrowded trains, buses and highways. The wear and tear on their mental and physical health takes its toll.
Meanwhile, people at home can be seen as an afterthought. Managers forget to get them on critical Zoom calls. They will miss impromptu, casual encounters in the hallway, cafeteria, and elevators. While the top headline takes out a select group of office workers to celebrate a big win, the homeworkers, who may have played a key role in its success, are locked out of the party.
For both groups there will be a fear of missing out (FOMO). Those at home will worry about descending to second-class citizens, locked out of important conversations and decision-making. They will hate the people in the office who come into favor, because of the bias of proximity. It’s easier to hand off an important job or new client to the person in the office next door as opposed to tracking down a remote employee. If the internal team receives higher salaries, bonuses and promotions because of the face time they put into it, rather than the output, it will lead to a confrontational gap in the workforce.
You see the office team getting angry with people who work comfortably from home, while waiting outside in the freezing weather for a train that is an hour late. It is reasonable to assume that they will start to feel hurt as well. While the remotes attend milestone events such as school plays, sports, dance lessons and time for friendships, the office teams miss these once-in-a-lifetime moments.
The benefits of remote working
Murph, an outspoken champion of remote work, says 25% of all professional jobs in the United States will be remote by the end of this year. Murph, dubbed the “oracle of remote work” by CNBC, points to the success of his company, GitLab, a DevOps platform with 1,200 employees in more than 65 countries. GitLab has been completely remote since its inception.
He says remote working requires a conscious decision to create, cultivate and manage a dispersed workforce. This requires an enormous amount of thinking, planning, attention to detail and execution. Murph says running a remote business comes down to trusting your employees. He also calls for communication, feedback, strong leadership and a company-wide shared sense of mission and goals.
Murph believes that companies that intelligently hire and manage a remote workforce will succeed and prosper. Because of the lifestyle, fairness, level playing field and the appreciation for freedom and autonomy, outside companies are likely to attract some of the best and brightest talent. This will make the company bigger, stronger and better. They will transfer the A players from companies that have instructed their staff to go back to the office full time. Chasing the lack of choices, these organizations will suffer from a steady stream of attrition. As a result, the top talent will leave for competitors.
Working remotely is life-changing
Murph hopes his remote working movement will leave a legacy of change, empowering more people and businesses to join this trend. From his own experience, employees of his company and places he has advised, remote working has been better for people’s mental health, emotional well-being and a higher quality of work and life.
He advocates that by working anywhere you can better appreciate your family, friends and neighbors. Without the time-consuming commute, you can enjoy hobbies, exercise and take better care of yourself.
The remote work leader points out that remote work will have caused other positive changes in the world. For example, Americans living in rural communities far away from Silicon Valley and Wall Street now have more options. Likewise, people from all over the world no longer have to leave their families and loved ones behind to find a great, high-paying job in another city, state, or country. Smaller communities that are constantly losing young people to underemployment can now stay and help revitalize small towns in the US. The remote model is one of the best ways to level the playing field for your career, according to Murph .