Bosses are far more concerned about how work happens than where it occurs

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Jan 17, 2024

A survey of Fortune 500 executives by software giant Atlassian has found almost all (99%) of bosses believe the working environment is set to become more distributed in the future, including a mix of office-based and remote setups.

A similar number of execs (98%) believe that where teams work isn’t the problem; it’s how, and many are questioning the impact of their office-working mandates on worker productivity.

Rather, Atlassian has revealed that a lack of communication and collaboration among workers is most troubling.

Where you work really doesn’t matter

The study revealed that nearly two in five workers didn’t know who to collaborate with (39%) or how to collaborate effectively (38%), suggesting that a more inclusive environment and better online collaboration tools could be needed.

Most (87%) execs say that their teams do not have visibility into each other’s goals, and 38% agree that it’s harder to coordinate work when balancing remote workers. However, Atlassian’s report presents other options beyond mandating office-based working, including implementing better tools and revised policies.

Atlassian’s remote hires now account for 57% of all hires (2023), compared with 14% in 2020, indicating that talent acquisition has been boosted considerably as a result of balancing what workers want with what the company expects.

Besides supporting WFH, the report also called for work-anywhere policies, worker relocation support, and better benefits to support distributed workers. However, Atlassian stands by in-person interactions during critical periods, suggesting that just a few face-to-face meetings a year would suffice.

Moving forward, Atlassian has shared some key changes that businesses should make, including shifting the focus from where people work to how they work. The company also asks others to remove office attendance mandates in favor of making in-office experiences meaningful.

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