positive remote organization

Current trends of remote work and hybrid work arrangements continue to impact work-life balance and increase productivity, happiness, and employee performance.

According to Forbes, 12.7% of employees work from home, while 28.2% work on a hybrid model. In fact, 98% of the current workforce desires to work remotely at least some of the time. Additionally, by 2025, it is estimated that 32.6 million Americans will be working remotely.

In an earlier blog this year, we discussed the healing of the organization in a post-COVID environment as paramount to both engaging and retaining employees. We also talked about evolving a more purposeful workforce despite the restrictions that remote work can present, such as a sense of isolation, less engagement, and less connection.

The positive remote organization

In the bestselling book by Robert E. Quinn, The Positive Organization (2015), he relates 20 characteristics of the positive organization and the power of culture to engage performance in the firm. With managers who may be Discounters, Skeptics, or Believers, the organization’s culture can be challenging, especially as each manager possesses those mental maps or biases that guide their respective behaviors and beliefs. For the Believer manager with a higher caliber of capacity to guide the organization in these unconventional times, the current trend of remote and hybrid work teams can elevate. This elevation results in a more sustainable culture of positivity.

Characteristics of a Positive Organization

The ten top characteristics of guiding a positive organization include the following:

  1. Growth Focus: seeing possibility in the future.
  2. Self-organization: empowerment of employees.
  3. Creative Action: responsive, learning organization.
  4. Intrinsic Motivation: meaningful, rewarding work.
  5. Positive contagion: positive emotions and enthusiasm.
  6. Total engagement: committed, engaged, fully involved people at all levels.
  7. Individual Accountability: measuring whether or not each group member has achieved the group’s goal.
  8. Decisive Action: speed, urgency.
  9. Achievement Focused: having the drive and passion to accomplish goals.
  10. Constructive Confrontation: the ability to have courageous and honest conversations in negotiating confrontation.

While these concepts of positive organization seem commonplace, working remotely poses unique scenarios in spreading positivity, if only through the Zoom or MS Teams platform. However, many report an increase in ‘just for fun’ gatherings online to celebrate team accomplishments and personal milestones. Managers also note that having a better work-life balance for employees has resulted in better overall health and more opportunities to focus on long-term initiatives and vision, a hallmark of the Believer management style.

Benefits of remote work

McKinsey Consulting reports that offering flexible work options also increases the potential of attracting top talent and reinvigorating the leadership pipeline. Additionally, it bodes well for recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, which adds to the possibility of more creative problem-solving and an evolved mindset.

This mainly affects women in the workforce. In the McKinsey annual Woman at Work report, 78% of women report that the option to work remotely ranked slightly lower than healthcare benefits (83%). Another facet of remote work is the appeal to Zoomers, also known as Generation Z. Those aged 24 to 35, almost 40% work remotely full-time, and 25% do so part-time. For managers seeking to engage a sustainable workforce, the possibilities are endless. These possibilities involve linking the autonomy of remote work to intrinsic motivation and self-organization. Furthermore, these aspects are essential in creating a positively driven workplace that can provide the desired outcomes.

In capturing those nuances of the Positive Organization, building a culture of positivity and a culture where employees may thrive is worthwhile. This endeavor creates a new purpose and meaning to work, and this applies to both remote and hybrid employees alike. When managers are listening and can identify those purposeful interventions that make for enthusiasm and achievement, we all win.

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn how to implement positive change in the performance of organizations and their employees, Concordia’s DBA will help you improve your skills and achieve your goals.

Dana M. Sendziol, Ph.D., serves as associate professor of business in the DBA program at Concordia University Wisconsin-Ann Arbor. Dr. Sendziol is a Certified Resilience Practitioner for the Resilience Alliance and will present at the Southern Management Association annual meeting in October 2023.