The clash between remote work and returning to the office

By HackerNoon July 6, 2023

I remember the day SupportYourApp decided to switch to the WFH mode. The Covid-19 pandemic was starting to pick up steam, and businesses around the globe were going remote by the dozen every day. To keep everyone safe and healthy, the decision to start working from home came to our management team within minutes.

Since then, SupportYourApp grew from 500 people to 1200+ professionals who work from all around the world. Fully working from one office is not an option for all members of our team.

Yet, global businesses have started a battle to return their employees to their offices.

  • Goldman Sachs — the company’s CEO said he expected to see all 60 thousand Goldman Sachs’ employees back at the office. “I do think for a business like ours which is an innovative, collaborative apprenticeship culture, (remote working) is not ideal for us, and it’s not a new normal,”. So far, only 10 thousand people have returned to their desks.
  • Netflix — Netflix’s CEO says working remotely is not good for collaboration and is, in his opinion, a ‘pure negative’.
  • Google — for almost a year, Google has been trying to incentivize its workers to come back to the office. The employees were promised free food and other perks that would make office hours even more comfortable than they already were. When this motivation failed, the company’s Chief People Officer, Fiona Cicconi, said non-appearance in the office for three days a week will influence their performance review.
  • Salesforce — Salesforce decided to go the other way and said the company would donate $10 to charity per each day an employee will show up to the office between June 12 and June 23.

What is businesses’ pro-office motivation?


It is widely thought that a team member who works from home spends most of their time not working, watching Netflix, walking around, and only pretending to be productive. This issue can be resolved simply — make sure every team member sends their manager a productivity report at the end of every day, and start utilizing collaboration and progress tools like Asana or Trello.

In general, the notion that people are less productive when they work from home is incorrect, as 77% of workers say they are more productive when working remotely. 30% also report doing more work in less time, and 24% say they do more work in the same amount of time.


As leaders and managers, we want to make sure we can control and monitor the way our teams perform. We want to know what stage every project is on at almost any given moment, and we want to be sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to.

We have to remember — micromanagement is not a good approach to management, especially with a growing team. For any C-suite leader, it is better to delegate some leadership tasks to other management members and focus on strategic goals and tasks.

Can control really ensure a superb team performance? Not really. Through my tenure as a CEO, I tried several approaches to team management. At the beginning, I tried to be a friend to everyone on my team. That didn’t work, and I soon adopted a dictatorial style — I wanted to know everything that was happening at SupportYourApp, and I was trying to be strict with everyone.

Did my team’s productivity improve? It was already good, and I cannot say that anyone’s strict control would make any difference, no matter whether my team works in our offices or remotely.

Collaboration & Communication

How can a leader ensure collaboration? There are several steps to doing that:

  • Handpick every member of the team to ensure everyone is a perfect fit.
  • Adopt collaboration software like Trello, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Kolab, and so on.
  • Ensure regular communication both inside and outside the office.
  • Encourage brainstorming sessions to make sure everyone’s free to share their ideas.
  • As a manager, trust your team and listen to their ideas — this will not only ensure collaboration, but will actually vitalize creativity.

Can an office encourage collaboration?

When you have a question, it is easier to just turn your head and ask a teammate for help. But let’s be honest — businesses around the world have been in a remote mode for more than 3 years. We have online communication and collaboration all set up.

It is especially true for international teams that cannot gather in one space on a regular basis, or even ever.

Pro-office motivation: does it work?

Measures taken by Google, Salesforce, Netflix, and many other companies show — most teams are not keen to come back to their offices even for a hybrid schedule.

They want to have the possibility to choose where to work and when to come back and work with their teams face-to-face.

With that said, will the office culture survive in the post-pandemic world? It will. The office will evolve and become a hub where colleagues can meet, work on projects that require top security measures, and feel their teams having their backs.

The main task for a leader is to find a proper approach and proper encouragement.

So, as always in the modern world, everything is about balance.

This article was originally published by Daria Leshchenko on Hackernoon.