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Remote Work Works, a New Google Study Finds

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Jan 5, 2020

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Remote Work Works, a New Google Study Finds (fastcompany.com)

Posted by msmash on Monday April 08, 2019 @01:59PM from the closer-look dept.

Working remotely can be really tough. To get some insight into how to do it better, Google

conducted a two-year study involving data from 5,600 employees

across the U.S., Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. From a report:

Approximately 30% of the company’s meetings involve staff in more than two time zones, and 39% involve more than two cities. Veronica Gilrane, manager of Google’s People Innovation Lab, oversaw the study and has written a guide for how to make the most of distributed teams. Last week, she released a report of her findings. On the outset of the study, the team hypothesized that distributed teams might not be as productive as their centrally located counterparts. “We were a little nervous about that,” says Gilrane. She was surprised to find that distributed teams performed just as well. Unfortunately, she also found that there is a lot more frustration involved in working remotely. Workers in other offices can sometimes feel burdened to sync up their schedules with the main office. They can also feel disconnected from the team. Gilrane says there are three key tricks to optimizing a remote workforce.

The first is being flexible about time zones. For her own teams meetings, which has people on the West Coast and East Coast, she makes sure meetings are at different times every week and are equally convenient for workers in each time zone. If workers extend into more varied time zones, like Greenwich mean time or China standard time, she says to make sure that a manager should alternate meeting times so that one time zone isn’t inconvenienced more than another. Next, she suggests making time for team members across the globe to get to know one another. She thinks managers should be really thoughtful about when they use technology for meetings and when its more appropriate to fly out team members to meet in person. Though distributed teams cannot meet in person often, she thinks managers should encourage workers to get to know one another. Her team meets once a week for 30 minutes with no express agenda over video chat.

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