The Drawbacks of Remote Work


The Drawbacks of Remote Work

The pandemic forced businesses and employees to adopt the virtual workplace overnight. Remote work quickly became the standard, leaving little time to prepare employees for this new way of working. Many employees realized the benefits of remote work like a better work-life balance and the flexibility to work their own hours. Others, especially those newer to the workforce, struggled with the lack of social interaction and burnout. As the world continues to reopen and remote options become a permanent fixture of the modern office, it is important that businesses are aware of the downsides of remote work when deciding how to enable workplace flexibility.

Socially Remote

With the move to remote work, the social aspects of office culture have become harder to replicate. Those working from home often experience feelings of isolation and loneliness which can take a toll on their productivity as well as their mental and physical well-being. In a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, nearly two-thirds of remote workers experienced these feelings some of the time and 17% felt them all the time. Creating an inclusive hybrid culture can help address these problems.

Professional Growth

Workplace social opportunities are pivotal in relationship building and career growth. However, the networking and mentorship opportunities vital to professional development aren’t easy to access when working remotely. Remote employees miss out on the countless daily interactions that occur in office settings. These seemingly small social interactions play a significant role in building rapport with coworkers. This can also make it difficult for new hires and younger employees to form bonds with a company and its culture.

No generation has been more impacted by this than Gen Z. A growing number of young employees have never worked in an office. They graduated during the pandemic or started jobs as business closed and transitioned to remote work. While many argue that remote work can harm their professional and personal lives in the future by missing office work, research suggests it may also lead to retention issues for employers. In a recent Bankrate survey, 77% of Gen Z workers plan to look for a new job in the next year.


Blurred lines between home and office, longer working hours, less time off, and feeling cut off from peers and management can lead to burnout for remote workers. A survey by Indeed found that 52% of respondents experienced burnout in 2021, up from 43% in 2020. Younger employees who struggle to adhere to work-life boundaries are particularly susceptible to this with 58% of Gen Z respondents reporting burnout.

Hybrid Solutions Address Remote Concerns

Despite these negatives, 87% of employees want to retain workplace flexibility post-pandemic. A popular solution to this problem is the hybrid work model, which allows for in-person meetings or in-office days while still offering the flexibility of remote work. Learn how Kollective solves for hybrid work .

Kollective Empowers Hybrid Strategies

While a hybrid workplace can be a buffer against many of the downsides of fully remote work, it can also put a strain on systems not prepared for this scenario. Live video plays an integral role in synchronous communications for the hybrid workplace, and corporate networks are often overtaxed when delivering bandwidth-intensive video. Even a small number of employees streaming a live event or on-demand video can overload a network. The recent comments by Google’s CEO highlight this concern , predicting that employees will come in less than before but en masse when they do, thus creating peak demand problems for networks. Networks need to be optimized with an enterprise content delivery network (ECDN), to ensure every employee receives the same high-quality video.

Employees expect a seamless video communications experience – their engagement and retention depend on it. Poor content delivery interrupts communications, inhibits collaboration, and stalls innovation. Kollective’s Edge Accelerator offers complete coverage to reliably deliver video to your entire workforce without investing in additional infrastructure. Our multiple delivery methods can be configured or combined to meet the needs of even the most complex networks. With Kollective’s ECDN in place, flawless communications reach every employee.

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The Hybrid Work Paradox


The Hybrid Work Paradox

In a recent article , Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “solving the Hybrid Work Paradox will be the challenge of the decade.” The stakes for Microsoft are undeniably high. The Covid-19 pandemic coupled with advances to their hybrid solutions (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Stream, Viva, O365) has resulted in huge increases in usage and directly improved the efficiency and collaboration of their hybrid workforce of over 180,000 employees.

Therefore, it’s no surprise Microsoft released a study in September 2021 titled, The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers. The study, published in Nature Human Behaviour , analyzes collaboration and communication of 61,182 remote Microsoft employees over the first six months of 2020. In this article, we’ll detail their findings, examine the current state of hybrid work, and explore how business leaders can prepare their workforce for the challenges of the hybrid office.

What is the Hybrid Work Paradox?

Workers want the flexibility of remote work, but also the inspiration and real-time collaboration that in-person work offers. This is the Hybrid Work Paradox. So, can workers have it both ways? To put it simply, yes, but businesses need policies and technology geared for flexibility. As Nadella puts it, companies need to “embrace flexibility across their entire operating model, including the ways people work, the places they inhabit and how they approach business.”

To know how businesses need to flex in response to hybrid work, we need to develop an understanding of the pain points and hurdles to overcome. Microsoft’s study provides many of those insights; let’s dive in and review what they found.

Productivity Increases at the Cost of Creativity

Microsoft’s study analyzed remote work behaviors of employees between December 2019 and June 2020. This time frame is significant as it establishes a pre-pandemic baseline to compare data against once the pandemic struck. While businesses and workers have become more adapted to remote work since June 2020, there’s still valuable information to glean from the study.

The main benefit researchers discovered about remote work was a slight, but noticeable increase in productivity and hours worked per week. However, this came at the cost of creativity. While remote work eliminates in-person communication, they found that workers didn’t always replace in-person interactions with video or voice calls. This was part of a broader trend signaling a decrease in synchronous communications (e.g. scheduled meetings, video calls, etc.). Instead, reliance on asynchronous communications such as emails and IMs grew. Researchers concluded that this makes it more difficult to convey complex ideas and converge on the meaning of complex information thereby reducing creative output.

Another consequence of remote work was the growth of communication silos. Remote work caused workers to have fewer bridging ties with other members in the company and spend less time with the bridging ties they already built. Researchers worried this could become a more significant problem over time, stating “it is possible that the long-term effects of firm-wide remote work are different. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, workers were able to leverage existing network connections, many of which were built in person. This may not be possible if firm-wide remote work were implemented long-term.”

We can summarize the study’s findings on the downstream effects of remote work in three points.

  1. Increase in productivity
  2. Decrease in real-time conversations
  3. Increase in departmental silos

There is no Universal Solution to the Hybrid Work Paradox

The results of the study seem to paint a bleak picture of the current state of remote work – at least at the beginning of the pandemic. Though, perhaps the greatest benefit of Microsoft’s study is that it has drawn attention to the specific shortcomings and pain points of remote work. These problems are not insurmountable. Rather, they give managers and team leads areas to focus on.

So how do we solve the hybrid work paradox? Well, for one, it’s important to understand that these rules don’t universally apply. Each business is unique in their structure and operational methods. And different roles are more affected by remote work than others. For example, professions that are used to prolonged periods of solitary work (e.g., writers, designers, etc.) are not as affected by the pitfalls of hybrid work as cross-functional roles that rely on lots of collaboration.

Managers can start addressing hybrid concerns by embracing the flexibility of hybrid work and ensuring they build an open culture. This starts with increasing synchronous communications and facilitating connections between other departments to enable collaboration and cross-functional work.

Secondly, preparing your company and team with the tools and technology needed to lower these barriers. Workers need functional and reliable communications tools like Microsoft Teams that allow remote workers a comparable level of collaboration offered by in-person work. Additionally, enterprise networks need to be able to handle and consistently deliver these bandwidth intensive forms of communication. Stay tuned for our next article in this series where we’ll review how Kollective’s ECDN uniquely provides the coverage and flexibility necessary to solve the problems presented by hybrid work.

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Use Live Video to Encourage Collaboration Among Hybrid Employees


Organizations all over the world were faced with an unprecedented challenge after COVID-19 forced nearlytwo-thirds of employees to work remotely . Without much warning, employers had to find a way to shift their entire staff to remote work. However, many were unprepared to face this unprecedented challenge.  

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the usage and demand for video collaboration tools has skyrocketed. Even so, with vaccinations ramping up and a return to office on the horizon, it’s clear that hybrid work will continue well into the future. Some employees will continue working from home in order to accommodate safety recommendations, where others will return to the workplace to take advantage of in-person collaboration and advanced technology. 90% of human resources leaders surveyed by Gartner said they plan to let employees work remotely at least part of the time, even after a vaccine is widely adopted. But regardless of where you’re working, one thing is certain – the modern workplace will never be the same.


When employees start trickling back into the office, most organizations will adopt a hybrid work model. For example, your Sales team may continue working from home, but your IT department will be in office. For this setup to function properly without leaving anyone behind, it’s up to you to keep communication lines open and make sure that everyone feels included and connected. 

A simple and cost-effective way to make sure your employees stay connected is with video communications. Most remote workers appreciate face time with their colleagues, and in-office employees will benefit from a streamlined communication platform. Given the new state of the hybrid workforce, you want every member of your team to feel included, regardless of location.  

Plus, if someone misses a meeting, video on demand (VOD) services allow employees to catch up on important meetings or company-wide communications even after the meeting has ended. The more connected teams feel, the better they’ll be able to work together. Research firm Gigaom says 87% of remote team members feel more connected to their team when they can use video conferencing.


Maintaining strong employee collaboration has been one of the largest workplace hurdles IT and Communications teams have had to climb during the pandemic. While convenient, communicating via email or an instant messenger can lead to miscommunications and unnecessary, time-consuming work. Instead of relying on text-heavy communications methods, utilizing a video conferencing software will allow both in-office and remote employees to quickly and clearly communicate with one another in a more collaborative way. 

In addition to being a way for employees to feel connected with one another, video meetings can be much more time-efficient, since the need for back-and-forth email chains are reduced. Many video conferencing programs, like Microsoft Teams , also allow for cross-collaboration and make file sharing, discussing, reviewing and sending documents a lot more streamlined, especially for employees who are working in different locations. 


Enabling cohesion in the COVID age has been challenging. But one of the keys to building a high-functioning team is to establish trust and build rapport among your employees, even when not everyone is working together physically. Instead of deferring to email or chat, use video communication to better humanize the way we work together. Having the ability to actually look someone in the eyes and catch up before or after a meeting can make a significant difference in a hybrid team’s ability to bond with one another. 

If you’d like more insight on how video can help connect your distributed workforce, read our white paper “The Visible Boss.” We cover everything from tips for getting started to best practices from executives thrive in front of the camera. 

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