Raise Rumble: Remote vs. Office

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees around the country have been working remotely. According to a recent Harvard Business School report, that’s something many would like to continue. In an online survey of 1,500 American workers, 81 percent of respondents said they don’t want to go back to the office full time or would prefer a hybrid schedule.

The way forward isn’t clear cut, though. Another recent survey--this time by Harris Poll--revealed more evenly split attitudes. According to the survey of 2,063 adults, 45 percent of Americans prefer to work from home full time, 35 percent want a home-office hybrid, and 25 percent want to go back to the office full time.

This is likely one debate that won’t be settled anytime soon. This month, the team at Raise took on the topic in the inaugural installment of Raise Rumble, a podcast dedicated to tackling controversial workplace topics.

In the episode, Raise CEO and Founder Justin Bedecarre faced off against Lily Rudolph, Head of Data Operations at Raise. Here’s how they weighed in on the issues.

Zoom Meeting vs. In-Person Meetings

Zoom has become the go-to solution for virtual meetings, but Bedecarre says the application is a poor substitute for in-person interactions. He says virtual meetings often feel transactional.

“I am so tired of seeing everyone on a square on my screen,” Bedecarre says. “So much of communication is based on tone, expression, and moving around. None of that is possible when we’re all remote. We are social beings. We want to feel that energy and build off of that creativity and that is just impossible in a fully remote setting.”

While Rudolph mostly agrees that Zoom calls are not a good alternative to in-person interactions, she is a major proponent of remote work in general. 

“Every relationship that you have shouldn’t be through a computer or through a device, but can you do your job effectively in a remote setting and live your life in a place that could work better for your family and be better for your lifestyle? I think you can do that and be just as good at your job,” Rudolph says.

Solo vs. Together

Even before the pandemic, studies have indicated remote work results in an increase in productivity. According to a Stanford study from 2013, home working led to a 13 percent performance increase. Isolation does have its drawbacks, however. 

“One comment a lot of people made when they switched to being fully remote is ‘I’m getting so much more done than I was before. I feel so efficient, I feel so effective at my job.’ But that has come at a cost,” Rudolph says. “You can’t just take for granted that we’re going to run into each other in the middle of the day, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get that togetherness when you’re remote. We just have to be intentional about it.”

Bedecarre says that togetherness is an essential part of any team and their success.

“We always win as a team,” Bedecarre says. “It’s one of our core values as a company. It’s how people accomplish great things. We all want to be around each other and lift people up. Many minds are better than one mind. You can’t achieve greatness without doing it with a team.” 

Remote, Office, Hybrid

Both Bedecarre and Rudolph agree that a hybrid workplace is the perfect solution for companies who want to give their employees the benefits of remote work, while maintaining a collaborative work environment.

“I think the future is absolutely hybrid,” Bedecarre says. “We need that in-person interaction, but it just doesn’t need to be everyday.”

“We’ve learned in this past year that we can work remotely, but also that sometimes we miss each other,” Rudolph says. “As we learn more and more about how people work and about these processes I think we’ll get better both at creating these spaces that people want to be in and are willing to commute to and also at communicating remotely and having better technology around that.”