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Mediocre workers have no place to hide

Do mediocre workers prosper more when working from home or in the office? This isn’t a question I’ve thought of long before the pandemic, but if I had it, I might have speculated that second-rate was preferred over timed at home.

It’s certainly a suggestion from some top executives, as Covid’s efforts to replenish empty offices are accelerating this year. Working from home is “Less engagedAccording to WeWork boss Sandeep Mathrani. “Hustle“JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon says.

But what if the opposite is true? Max Thowless-Reeves is a former UBS private banker and guest education fellow at Aston Business School, who runs his own wealth management company in Stafford, north of Birmingham.

Not long ago he wrote letter To FT who insisted on arrest. “Mediocreity is hidden in the office,” he added, adding that it was easy to identify which staff valued the most when everyone was working remotely. When I called him last week to find out why, he said something interesting. During the pandemic, his company started using Google Docs more. In other words, people were working on the same material from their homes at the same time.

“You can see everyone typing in the same document,” he said, which was who responded quickly to the query, made useful suggestions, or contributed in general, and He added that it means that you can see who didn’t contribute.

“It was clear which team members were really moving us forward, but we didn’t know in advance,” he said.

His company has only 15 employees, but his experience is worth remembering. Just because someone is in the office and in front of your nose doesn’t mean they’re doing as useful as someone who works hard, but they’re at home invisible. .. The discussion does not end here.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a retired UK businessman trying to close three separate real estate transactions. His parents recently died, leaving enough money for each of his two children to take out a mortgage at his first home in London. So he not only sold his parents’ home, but also helped his two descendants navigate the purchase of real estate in London.

That is, he deals with three realtors, a surveyor, a mortgage lender, and a lawyer, all of whom work quite a bit at home, saying what he said was “a continuous level of wonder.” It was provided as a “non-professional service”.

This includes: Searches performed on the wrong property. Wrong selling price for important contracts. The mortgage application period was incorrect and the document had the wrong name entered. In addition, one lawyer was unable to withdraw the necessary mortgage funds on time, one of the children faced a loss of deposits, and the house was gone.

So was the worker mediocre or was there any other responsibility? The man thought that working from home could be a problem.

“I think working from home has upset the balance of the turmoil,” he added, adding that people may have been overwhelmed and forced to deal with it alone. The job of one lawyer he used three times in the past without any problems was “full of mistakes” when she came home when she was working in the office.

Of course, he is one isolated case. But it chimes with some of the findings of a study that looked at how more than 10,000 workers at a major Asian tech company carried them before and after Covid forced them home.

Researchers found total working hours Shot It increased by about 30 percent, including a lot of work done outside normal working hours.

However, the extra time did not result in an increase in production, so the study concluded that overall productivity was reduced by about 20 percent.

This does not necessarily correct skeptics working from home. This study does not directly measure the quality of work done. All of this underscores the complexity of Covid’s excellent telecommuting experiments and why it’s too early to draw a definitive conclusion about it.

pilita.clark@ft.com

twitter: @pilitaclark



Mediocre workers have no place to hide

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