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The biggest criticism of remote workers is actually false

After years of working remotely, some leaders have questioned the effectiveness of working from home. Bosses thought colleagues who wouldn’t come into the office were less productive or slowing down to the point that a word has been coined for it: quiet abandonment (which is really just about workers reciting their wages). Gallup discovers that employee engagement plummeted this year confirmed for them that the workers were no longer making an effort. All this created a certain paranoia among the executives, some of which implemented monitoring software to see what their remote workers are doing.

But it’s probably not necessary. Because absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, it also makes employees work harder. At least, if you look at a recently posted she studies by Andrew Brodsky, a professor of economics at the University of Texas, and Mike Tolliver, director of product management at Vyopta, a virtual collaboration software company. They found that the popular narrative that workers are disengaged isn’t entirely true: workers are actually becoming Moreover engaged.

To measure worker engagement, the two researchers looked at the frequency and duration of remote meetings from April to May of 2020 and the same time period in 2021 and 2022, collecting data from 10 organizations, most of which they were Fortune 500 companies.

They found that remote employees actually meet more: In 2022, there were 60% more remote meetings per worker than two years ago. Specifically, there are more unscheduled and one-on-one meetings than before. But meetings are shorter, going from an average of 43 minutes per meeting in 2020 to 33 minutes this year (people have probably finally figured out how to mute and unmute themselves and are simply more efficient with their time, especially now who have multiple meetings).

Some leading proponents of a return to office have argued that this would provide force majeure ability to collaborate more effectively and freely. But it seems people have become more accustomed to remote working, making these encounters more casual and spontaneous in a way that more closely mirrors in-person interactions, the researchers suggested.

Now, Brodsky and Tolliver were just looking at meeting data: They acknowledge that meeting attendance doesn’t automatically mean employees are working harder. They also weren’t able to compare these virtual interactions to in-person meetings.

But the data suggests “that the increase in meetings was at least in part due to increased engagement rather than a growing need to pretend to work,” they said. wrote in the Harvard Business Review. This was because those who were about to quit their jobs – whom Brodsky and Tolliver called the most disengaged workers – attended fewer meetings.

The findings are the latest proof that companies actually benefit from remote workers. A I’ve been studying Microsoft since September found that the average Microsoft The Teams user was thought to be in 153% more meetings now than at the start of the pandemic. The downside, however, is that increased activity puts workers under more “strain,” the company said.

For the half-million employees Brodsky and Tolliver surveyed, 48 million meetings were measured. All of this shows that the workers are still employed, even if you’re not looking at them.