John McDermott | Inc.com staff
Business consultant and entrepreneur Scott Edinger says that office proximity may make your team less connected.
If your employees come into the office each day, it’s natural to think that they’re engaged and well-connected with one another. But that’s a misperception, according to a recent blog post from the Harvard Business Review.
Scott Edinger, founder of Tampa-based Edinger Consulting Group, wrote that the physical proximity of an office gives the illusion that co-workers are communicative and working together efficiently. The opposite is true, however. Remote workers are actually more engaged and committed to their team, Edinger wrote.
One reason for this, Edinger pointed out, could be that members of virtual teams feel the physical distance between them makes interactions more valuable.
When people do not sit at adjacent desks, they try hard to connect with one another and maximize what little time they do spend speaking with one another.
He wrote: “What’s more, because they have to make an effort to make contact, these leaders can be much more concentrated in their attention to each person and tend to be more conscious of the way they express their authority.”
Sharing the same workplace, however, causes workers to be complacement and take face-to-face communication for granted, he said.
Edinger also argued that the media used to manage a virtual team–video conferencing, instant messaging, email, and phone calls–make bosses more well-versed in technological tools, and thus, better leaders.
John McDermott is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com. @J_M_McDermott