Embracing Flexibility: A CEO’s Approach to Remote Work and Office Dynamics

Many workplaces today enforce strict in-office requirements, with managers expressing dissatisfaction if employees opt for remote work. However, Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs, a Boston-based video conferencing equipment manufacturer, stands apart from such practices.

He actively advocates for his employees to craft schedules and work from locations that suit them best, even endorsing what he terms “coffee badging.”

The term “coffee badging” refers to the act of swiping one’s badge to enter the office, spending some time socializing over morning coffee with colleagues, and then returning home to carry out work remotely.

In environments with rigid office mandates, this approach allows individuals to gain recognition for being physically present while still benefiting from the perks of remote work.

"Coffee badging" blends socializing and remote work
“Coffee badging” blends socializing and remote work, enhancing efficiency and morale in the workplace.

Weishaupt, who boasts over two decades of executive experience in both small startups and corporate giants like Yahoo, asserts that this strategy should find acceptance among employers universally.

He believes that if an individual thrives on the social interactions provided by the office before requiring solitude to achieve productivity, they should have the freedom to do so. “We hire people to do a job. I don’t hire people to watch them work,” states Weishaupt. “I do value in-office engagement when it occurs, but it should evolve naturally.”

While coffee badging might appear inefficient on the surface, flexible schedules like this can enhance both efficiency and morale. According to a 2021 Gartner survey involving over 10,000 digital workers worldwide, 43% of respondents cited flexible working hours as a factor that boosted their productivity.

Weishaupt vehemently opposes the notion of dictating strict office attendance requirements, deeming it an outdated concept.

“The office has a role, but mandating that you must come into the office on this day, at this time, and leave no earlier than this time — that is a dead concept,” he affirms. “Monitoring employee activity is a slippery slope that erodes trust.”

Trust and flexibility are key
Trust and flexibility are key: Monitoring employee activity erodes trust; prioritize what suits the workplace.

Contrary to popular belief, most managers express a desire to work remotely as much as, if not more than, their staff, as revealed in a survey conducted by software firm Checkr involving 3,000 American workers and managers.

While it may be challenging to embrace this inclination in the face of industry giants like Amazon or Disney enforcing strict in-office policies, Weishaupt advises bosses feeling torn to trust their instincts and prioritize what suits their workplace best.

“The office has a role, but it’s more task-based,” he emphasizes. “If I have meetings on Wednesday morning that necessitate in-person attendance, I will be there. And if I opt to stay in the office for the remainder of the day to complete my tasks, I’ll do so. However, if I prefer to work from another location, I should have the flexibility to do that.”

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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