This is a Captain Obvious post, but after some talking with the remote work community I felt that I need to write a few thoughts about that.
So, let’s begin.
Most knowledge workers still work in the office, because teammates’ close proximity to each other forces them to have a face-to-face as the primary way of communication.
When teammates are close to each other they will communicate face-to-face. It makes no sense for them to resort to texting or video-calling.
Face-to-face communication guarantees the basic team integrity and high speed of information exchange. It fosters socialization and generation of ideas.
What about remote work?
When teammates are working remotely it is easy to resort to texting. It’s not just easy, it’s what eventually happens most of the time.
As water flows where there’s less resistance, communication flows over the easiest channel. If it is easier to write text then texting becomes the main way of communication.
Frequent video chatting
Some people say that frequent video calling solves this problem. But making a video call is harder than writing a text message. That’s why text chatting eventually beats video calling.
It’s easier to talk than to write a text message when you’re in the same room. That’s why in this case face-to-face beats every other channel of communication.
What about introverts?
Some people say that frequent video chatting can be enforced with a work policy.
It might work, but the desire to text chat instead of video calling will be overwhelming for introverts.
It is highly likely that they will break the work policy because it is not comfortable for them to get out of their zone of comfort.
When inside the same room with others, he doesn’t have a choice but to communicate and he’s ready for that.
Communication is like water. Water flows where there is less resistance. The easiest way to communicate inside a single room is to talk. That is why being inside a single room guarantees that the team members will talk to each other.
When team members are working remotely the easiest way for them is to text chat. Video calling is difficult because you have to break through a wall of disconnection – to make a video call to establish a connection. Video calls are often followed with fine-tuning of equipment which makes it even more difficult.
By having an onsite team company has a guarantee that the team members will communicate face to face. It guarantees the basic team interaction. It guarantees the exchange of information, fast work coordination which affects the speed of work. It creates a basis for further team integration and cohesion.
Remote work might seem risky because it doesn’t guarantee such a high level of communication and interaction. With the current communication tools, it is highly likely that the communication will be mostly text-based.
The bottom line is: knowledge workers still work in the office just because it guarantees that they are going to communicate face-to-face.
I encourage you to try VideoWorkLink (VWL). It’s a product that allows remote working based on face-to-face communication.
With this product, your team has a wonderful opportunity to get the combined benefits of working remotely and of face-to-face based communication.