My friend asked that I keep both of them anonymous because he has a bad boss. A Gen Xer with an illustrious career in the nonprofit world is his boss. At the parts of his job that don't involve managing people, he is hard-working, sharp, and exceptional. My friend is not a good management person.

There are gory details about why this boss is terrible. His self-absorption, his lack of mentorship, his passive aggressiveness, his calls, texts, and emails during vacation and time off, as if he's protesting any semblance of a work life balance.

The real issue is how this boss has dealt with remote work. During the height of the Pandemic, he was always against it. He has had a hard time trusting his employees and giving them freedom. He checks to see if your work-status dot is green or not. It doesn't seem to matter that my friend works nights and weekends and has a good record of getting results. The theater of productivity is what his boss cares about. It's weird because his office is full of people who went to good schools, have a good resume, work long hours and have clearly joined this organization because of their dedication to its mission. There is no need for a babysitter.

The boss wants the team to return to the office full-time as the Pandemic has become less of a problem. The organization's leadership is likely to return their office to how it was before the outbreak. My friend and his team are not sure what's going on. Many people are thinking about quitting.

They are not the only ones. A group of economists surveyed tens of thousands of workers around the world. More than a quarter of workers who work from home at least one day a week say they will quit or look for a new job if their employer requires them to work full time.

The remote wars

The co-author of the study is an economist at the university. Some of the best research we have on remote work has been pumped out by Bloom over the past few years.

The battle between bosses and office workers took place in 2020. People wanted more days than their employers were willing to give them. The battle was won by the workers. Employers were routed by the workers. The employers had to change.

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Most office workers in the US are getting what they want when it comes to their ability to work from home. Roughly half of Americans can do their jobs from home, according to a new study. Office workers want to work from home about two and a half days a week. It's exactly what they're getting.

The Battle of Gettysburg changed the trajectory of the Civil War but it did not end it and the battle of 2020 did not bring an armistice. The fighting continues. The leader of the anti-remote army has been Larry Fink. General Fink argued on Fox Business that forcing employees back into the office would result in rising productivity that will offset some of the inflationary pressures we're seeing in the economy.

The opposite is shown by the research done by bloom. In July, he and his colleagues released a study that showed that remote work increased productivity, as well as resulted in other benefits. They did a randomized controlled trial at a real world tech company. More than 1,600 employees of the company were divided into two groups based on whether their birthdays were even or odd. One group was able to work from home on Wednesdays and Fridays. The control group had to work from home.

The group that was allowed to work from home two days a week was more productive than the others. 8% more lines of code were written by the coders who were able to work remotely. The finance types got better qualitative assessments. The group that could work remotely had a lower attrition rate than those who had to work in the office. After the experiment ended, rolled out hybrid-remote work to all of their employees.

According to industry, type of job, need for in-person interaction or collaboration, and so on, the particulars of what type of remote work policy is optimal will vary. There are many studies that show that allowing remote work has more benefits than costs for companies.

According to Bloom's research, remote work has resulted in a decrease in inflation. Workers value remote work so much that they are willing to accept lower pay in order to have it. More than 500 companies were surveyed and they found that 42% of them expanded opportunities for remote work to keep employees happy and moderate wage-growth pressures.

Many American bosses have seen the writing on the wall and allowed their employees to work from home. They should be called the good bosses.

There are still many hold outs. For one of my friends' bosses.

The behavioral economics of bad bosses

Many economists in the 70s and 80s assumed that managers make optimal decisions for their companies because of a model that portrays humans as rational. What could they not do? The best are represented by them. They make a lot of money to do their jobs well. They had to make rational decisions.

There are a lot of bad bosses out there, and their flawed decisions can hurt their organizations. MitchellHoffman and Steven Tadelis used employee reviews of managers at a large tech firm to measure their people management skills. Over time, they tracked these managers.

The good and bad bosses had the same result when it came to how productive their teams were. The rate at which their employees quit was what differentiated them.

The measure of manager social skills is a very robust predictor of worker attrition. The impact on labor costs for the firm is significant.

In the last couple years, America has seen a record number of people quit. A tight labor market with lots of job options is one of the reasons for this. Bad managers probably failed to read the tea leaves and refused to accept employee requests for remote work. There is a generation divide in all of this.

Most of the firms pushing for a full return to the office are the result of mistakes. A number of people in their 50s and 60s have been in the workplace for 40 years or more. They did a great job. They run large organizations. I did this for forty years. I would like everyone else to do the same thing.

Managers might be fighting the rising tide for remote work in industries where it's completely feasible due to the fact that some of them are control freaks. freeing workers to work remotely is more than just having to talk with them. It is possible to give them the freedom, trust, and respect they need to do their job. Some bosses don't like the fact that they can't always look over their employees' shoulders and see what they're doing and how long they're working.

Managers are monitoring the inputs that workers put into their work, such as the number of hours they are at their desk, how and where they do their work, and so on.

Productivity isn't really about inputs. In the end it's about output and quality. Back when we were all in the office, "output management" has always been a better way of motivating and monitoring professionals. Many managers were still focused on inputs. When office workers were forced to work from home, output management became the only game available.

"Tons of firms I've spoken to have discovered you have to use output management to manage remote workers, which means beefing up HR systems, which means more training, more performance reviews, and so on and so forth." "If you're an employee, that's good news for you because it means your boss, rather than saying you gotta be chained to your desk 50 hours a week at these strict times."

The pro-remote army often highlighted the benefits of remote work, such as no more time-suck commute. It is still a huge gain. More companies are adopting output management due to the huge gain from remote work. Workers can do their work where, when, and how they want. In his latest randomized controlled trial, you can see that remote workers sometimes reduce their time worked during normal business hours, but then make up for it on other days, nights and weekends.

Employees and good bosses are going to win the war despite the remote battles.