Dinosaurs vs Snowflakes: The Debate Over Remote Working

5 min read

Lord Sugar caused a bit of a stir this past week with his phrasing on those who work from home…

I have my views on ‘remote’ vs ‘hybrid’ vs ‘on-location’ working. And they’re not so clear cut.

I see pros and cons with each option 👍👎

But here’s the thing – it doesn’t matter what my views are in isolation.

What matters is not what’s right for me – it’s what’s right for all stakeholders concerned. And what’s going to deliver results 🎯

As I see it there are many folk in this transitional moment jumping at the opportunity to go to the polar extremes one way or the other based on their own preference. And that’s fine, make your own decision.

But it’s getting quite militant with slurs thrown around daily towards those who hold a different view; almost shaming people out of theirs.

– If you aren’t offering fully remote you’re a tyrannical dinosaur who doesn’t trust people and a control freak! 🦖

– If you seek jobs that are only fully remote you’re one of those lazy snowflakes who wants to hide away at home while commanding a high and unjust salary. ❄️

Is it possible this situation calls for a little more nuanced thinking?

Like everything – these issues should be discussed and professionally debated with the needs of not one stakeholder but all stakeholders considered.

I’m seeing a lot of posts from people who want fully remote that clearly aren’t considering the needs of the business. It’s almost coming across as a threat – “you’re out of touch, get with it or you’re finished bossman.”

But just because something works for you doesn’t mean it works for the business. And if the business doesn’t want to offer fully remote it may not just mean they don’t trust you or are control freaks.

They may believe that team communication, cohesiveness, informal learning which is SUCH a big part of our development, culture, creativity and problem solving are better achieved in person.

We’re human beings not cyborgs and we develop through social interaction. The more we pull away from each other, the less that happens, and the weaker our bond becomes.

People work for people. And that bond ain’t the same when you’ve never met them. So what impact will that have on loyalty and staff retention?

Contrarily, there’s those who are pro ‘on-location’ that aren’t considering the needs and benefits to the workforce of more flexibility. Better work/ life balance, potentially reduced expenditure (the cost of home heating may have a say in that – maybe there’s a conspiracy there 👀), more family or social time, even the environment should benefit from reduced travel and less pollution.

Then in the midst of this – is anyone thinking about what’s best for the customer? 🤨

There are benefits to each of these options and it’s contextual – unique to each individual industry, company, job function, even the nature of the current tasks being worked on and people involved.

It may also change over time and depending on experience level and seniority of the employee. But then if we take all our most knowledgeable people and say ‘go work wherever because we trust you’ – who will the juniors learn from? Yes there’s online comms tools, but it’s more formal and less serendipitous when a chance question or obstacle encountered requires a call scheduled or a reply waited for. And you’re probably less likely to reach out to someone you’ve never met and don’t have a strong connection with.

To make a binary decision on such a big topic then cast scorn on those who aren’t jumping in on one side or the other with both feet seems short-sighted to me.

And that’s not to say ‘remote’ or ‘on-location’ are wrong or won’t work or aren’t right for you or your business. It’s just contextual and not everything will work as effectively everywhere, all the time, with all the people 🙃

And maybe, what’s right for you doesn’t mean it’s right for all the other stakeholders concerned.

So debate it, discuss it, find out what works for you. But consider the needs of everyone else and find a balance that benefits everybody. Or, just go do your thing and find a company that aligns with your views.

But stop sticking the knife in to those with a different view. Because we still know very little about the longer term benefits or consequences yet.

There will be people who want to work remotely, people who want to work on location and people who want the best of both. And that’s ok. I wrote this from a remote location. But soon, I’ll be back in the office.

I work from wherever best facilitates me getting the job done and allows me to feel good in doing so.

That way I do my best work. And isn’t that the important thing? 🤷‍♂️

While you’re here…

Have you taken our vibrant workplace challenge?

We created the Vibrant Workplace Challenge to help our clients optimise their business performance by optimising their employees’ experience of work for the benefit of employer and employee. 

Over a 3-month period we use our web and mobile app accessible employee experience platform to evaluate life in your company, compile a report with recommendations on what you’re doing well and what you may do differently, and provide you with key cultural health indicators including Employee Engagement, Employee Experience and Employee Net Promoter levels.

If you meet our benchmarks, we’ll verify you as a Vibrant Workplace which you can use as a symbol of your commitment to your people and it will have come from your peoples’ own mouths over a valid period of time to truly reflect. 

It can help to strengthen an authentic employer and talent brand that lets you stand out from your competitors by showing factually that your employees:

  1. Most often have a positive experience at work daily
  2. Are most often engaged with the work they do
  3. Would recommend others take a job with you

And not everybody will reach this standard first time – but that’s okay!  It’s actually a good thing as we’ll be able to see what the problems are and we can help you address those issues to get there in future.  Doing that might help improve things like absence, attrition and performance levels. 



If you want to optimise your employees’ experience of work so you can optimise business performance, you can book a free Vibrant Workplace Discovery Chat using this link: