Agony Lance: Remote control

Agony Lance: Remote control
Why are companies so opposed to remote/flexible working arrangements?

 Why are companies so opposed to their employed or contracted designers working from their own locations (rather than in- house)? – Jane, freelance designer

There are several reasons for and against remote working, and while most of the reasons may be healthy, others may be ominous signs.

From the employer’s perspective, a person on site is far easier to control, and they often see that they are more likely to be engaged in productive work. They also see that gathering people in one location delivers more alignment around that work. A group of people in the office creates a culture and makes it a fun place to be.

From the individual’s perspective, working in the office may mean a lengthy commute, expensive childcare arrangements, constant distractions and ill-conceived and poorly run meetings. The office environment may suck away creativity and the equipment provided may be unrefined or locked down.

Preferences vary by person, type of work and industry, but for me the answer is generally ‘all of the above’. Smart employers are flexible about work arrangements, but generally insistent that there is an agreed amount of face time. Smart employees get in and out of the office as they need to. And the onus is on everyone in the room to fix unproductive meetings, poor working spaces or poor work.

Lance Wiggs is a business consultant and acts as agony aunt for distressed Idealog readers. Get inside his head at or ask him a question @lancewiggs.