How Mindset Impacts the Big Remote vs In-Office Question

By: Daniel Mormann

Author

How Mindset Impacts the Big Remote vs In-Office Question 

Every great action, every breakthrough, every success started with an idea. Ideas are powerful. Ideas can shape futures or halt progress. Ideas, mindsets, beliefs, they are all fuel for change or resistance. 

Take Galileo, his ideas and beliefs drove him to explore and share the idea of heliocentricity; the earth revolves around the sun. There were those who believed the world to be the center of the universe and the change in mindset needed to believe this brought cataclysmic resistance to Galileo’s ideas.  

Galileo’s ideas have spawned more ideas, more research, that if silenced may have led to history as we know it, being completely changed. 

Change your mindset and change the world.  

This idea of mindset is critical in how you approach, embrace (or shun) changes or developments that either occur because of planning and progress or are forced upon you. 2020 was one of those historic times, and something that has a brought a lens on how we work, and where we work. 

Covid drove a workforce out of the office and into their homes. Some really liked this new way of working; others were clamoring to get out of the house and back into the office. Managers were faced with learning a new way of connecting with their people and handling the changes in expectations. 

The remote vs office question is one of the most discussed topics of the last couple of years, and one that our Partners have been looking to us for guidance on.  

The answer is complex, holding tension between the objective and the subjective; an answer that is also greatly influenced by the values and beliefs held by each generation. 

 There is clear demand for more flexible working: currently 49% of Gen Zs and 45% of millennials work remotely at least some of the time, while three-quarters say remote would be their preferred mode of working. 

Robin’s data echoes that desire for a hybrid or flexible workplace. It found 66% of Gen-Z’ers working from the office full time wished they were hybrid (46%) or fully remote (20%), while more than 73% of those working remotely said they liked it. The research also showed if they could design the “ideal” office space, most Gen Z workers would like assigned office spaces defined by walls, not cubicles. 

In Fast Company’s article on how each generation feels about returning to the office, Gen-Xers, on the other hand, find great benefit in being onsite. 

Gen-Xers spent the last two to three decades preparing for this moment. They’ve learned one thing: the difference between performance and presence. A lot of people perform well, but they don’t advance unless they’re present. Those more than 50% of leadership positions were not meted out strictly on the basis of meeting or exceeding key performance indicators. Face time is critical, and relationships are cultivated. 

Gen-Xer’s get the old adage that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” They want to be at the office. They believe in the value of eye contact, watercooler conversation, and shrouded opportunism—all of which isn’t possible in remote work. Networking—where trust and admiration are built—can’t happen through Zoom. You’ve got to be there. Gen-Xers want to go back to the office and don’t claim their performance has increased since working at home, because they don’t believe it. 

Read that last line again. Gen-Xers want to go back to the office and don’t claim their performance has increased since working from home, because they don’t believe it 

Belief and mindset play a key part in how the remote vs in-office choice is explored. With many management positions being occupied by Gen-Xer’s, how they oversee the conversations with their direct reports is critical to the growth and success of their teams. how they manage their people, listen to them, and how they project their beliefs affects the direction their team, and the company takes. 

According to the Stanford Review: – https://news.stanford.edu/report/2021/09/15/mindsets-clearing-lens-life/

Having a fixed or growth mindset affects your worldview.  

You may have heard of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. These terms were coined by Stanford researcher and professor Carol Dweck, Ph.D.  to describe belief systems about your ability to change, grow and develop over time. If you believe your qualities are essentially unchangeable or “fixed,” you may be less open to mistakes because setbacks are seen as inherent and impinging on future success. 

With a growth mindset, you know that you can change over time, and therefore you are more open to reflect, learn and grow from challenges.  

As Dweck writes in “Mindset,” “…as you begin to understand the fixed and growth mindsets, you will see exactly how one thing leads to another — how a belief that your qualities are carved in stone leads to a host of thoughts and actions, and how a belief that your qualities can be cultivated leads to a host of different thoughts and actions, taking you down an entirely different road.” 

The stories we tell ourselves affect what we believe we can achieve, and more importantly what we believe our people can achieve. It impacts how we trust, how we lead and how we foster growth. 

Perhaps the real question isn’t about remote vs in-office, the real questions are, what are you pursuing, what do you believe is possible and what do you need to do to get there? It might be the answer involves bringing your people on-site, or it might mean a fully remote, or even hybrid environment.  

For example, take the adage that, if I can’t see you work, you aren’t working; can we trust you to do your job if we can’t see you…? Do you know an organization like that?   

What does that mindset lead to? Firstly, trust is conditional on presence. Secondly, the process is more important than the result (welcome to micro-management), thirdly, if we don’t hit our targets then it was because somebody wasn’t working and it’s a team member’s fault (or at least that’s the first question asked in a low trust environment).  

Ask yourself the question, is that a culture that is going to attract top talent and retain high performers?  

Your company culture is never static, it is always heading somewhere, and even in a divided workplace, if it’s trending downwards there is hope. It is going to take some work but there is hope. It comes back to mindset. 

Simon Sinek’s, Find Your Why, is what comes to mind here. Finding and attributing meaning, purpose and connecting through values builds bridges of relationship that will bear the weight of growth and support a scaling company culture, a culture people want to be a part of. 

Right Seats, Right People, Right Environment 

It is mindset that fueled the idea that when scaling your business, you define a seat by a series of performance objectives along with a set of behavioral indices that will inspire an A-Player to pursue a vision fueled role. Build the right seat so you can find the right person to occupy it; the Cinderella story, if you will. Put that person in the right environment (something that will resonate with their why, their set of values; that’s sympatico with your vision) and they will flourish.  

For some candidates, they value the flexibility and freedom offered by a remote role, IF it is connected to regular touch points with whoever they report to. For others they want to be out of the house because they value the face-to-face connection with colleagues (and next door’s dog won’t stop barking, especially during important calls). Some candidates want the ability to choose. By knowing your why (what you believe), the motivations behind the way your company builds (your mindset) you can then go looking for candidates aligned with your vision (create the right seat and find the right person to fill it). 

The question of remote working vs in-office is just the tip of the iceberg. The real question is how you are connecting with your people and how do your beliefs affect how you build. 

At Titus Talent Strategies we have built a culture that is built on a people first mindset. By connecting our people to vision, offering them the chance to make an impact and putting them in the right seat we have developed a culture people want to be a part of. This mindset drives our Partner experience and enables us to look beyond recruiting and into a future of optimization and investment.  

What’s question are you looking to answer? What challenges stand in the way your company achieving its mission? What do you believe is possible? We’d love to journey with you on the quest for those answers. 

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