Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Return to the office or leave.” – Here’s where managers and employees disagree about working from home… [Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy]

July 31, 2023

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Lots of changes are happening in the business world nowadays. From new technology to the workforce, many firms are looking for ways to effectively keep up with the restructuring in the work landscape. 

That’s why today, we’ll talk about the future of work as seen through the lens of Return Driven Strategy (RDS). 

As someone who’s been in the business and consulting industry for over 3 decades now, I believe these topics are essential in building and leading an outstanding organization. 

Ready to know more about today’s topic? 

Keep reading below. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 

Remote work is one of the biggest changes to the world of work since World War II. However, this setup is being held back by some disconnections between managers and staff. 

An example of this? 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s remote work controversy. 

Photo from BBC

In November 2022, Musk issued an ultimatum that Tesla employees should return to the office or leave the company… but he took that statement back after it threatened to speed up the pace of resignations. 

Now, a less dramatic version of that story is playing out across the entire business industry. 

Why do managers and employees disagree about remote work? 

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, managers and employees profoundly disagree about key aspects of working from home. For instance: Managers believe remote work reduces employees’ productivity, while employees believe the opposite of that. 

Part of this disagreement hinges on what these groups consider as “productivity.” Workers include commuting time in their calculations, so they think not having to travel to the office counts as an increase in productivity. 

On the other hand, managers tend to disregard commuting time when they think about productivity. They simply think about how much work is getting done every day. 

What else? 

Managers who don’t believe working from home is a good idea fear the loss of company culture when teams aren’t gathered in the office. However, there seems to be another reason: Leaders can’t control staff when they’re at home

Microsoft released a 2022 report that demonstrates such reality. According to data collected, 85% of leaders and managers say the shift to remote work has made it challenging to trust that their workers are being productive at home. 

This productivity paranoia couldn’t be further from the truth! 

In fact, one constant takeaway among hundreds of studies and testimonials since remote working was implemented is that people are working more hours and getting more things done at home. 

Remote Working and Productivity 

Working from home has many advantages, and lots of employees have begun to value jobs that allow them flexibility more than ever. Some are even saying goodbye to jobs that force them to return to their pre-pandemic office life. 

According to ConnectSolutions’ data, 77% of remote workers say they’re more productive in a work-from-home setup, with 30% doing more in an 8-hour shift. 

Additionally, Future Forum’s report shows workers who work remotely have 4% higher productivity scores than fully in-office workers. 

All of these data show that despite initial fears that workers would get easily distracted at home, generally speaking, these people are more productive working remotely than at the office. 


  1. Less social interactions = Fewer distractions

While socializing with colleagues is important, there are times when some employees spend a few more minutes or hours in the office just catching up over the coffee machine or in the pantry. This results in less jobs getting done in a day. 

  1. There’s no commute

According to data from Airtasker, commuting to and from work robs an average worker of around 8.5 hours per week. By not having to spend that amount of time traveling, employees can sleep longer hours and experience less stress, both of which lead to greater productivity. 

  1. There’s time to exercise

With less time spent commuting, workers can use their extra time for healthy habits such as exercise. After all, physical activity is correlated with decreased stress and anxiety, increased productivity, and overall good mental health. 

  1. There’s better work life and personal life balance

By being able to spend time with their loved ones, exercise more, and sign out at work without having to go through rush-hour traffic, workers are able to achieve a healthy work life and personal life balance. 

This translates to less stress, more happiness and productivity, and more time for hobbies that stimulate them. 

It’s natural that a shock to changing working conditions would cause disagreements between managers and employees. However, both parties have to accept that remote working is here to stay, whether they like it or not. 

Beyond an increase in productivity shown by lots of studies and surveys, this work setup has clear benefits for employees on a personal level. 

That’s why both managers and staff need to get on the same page. Companies should set aside the paranoia created by the lack of control over remote workers, and workers should be responsible enough to make sure they get things done even with less supervision. 

Besides, according to Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo in Return Driven Strategy (RDS), to achieve wealth, firms should align all their activities towards the goal of wealth-creation as defined by them. In other words, managers and staff should be clear about what they’re trying to achieve and how to get there. 

If remote working is part of the definition of “quality work” nowadays, then both parties must come to an agreement that will benefit them. 

We hope you learned a lot from today’s article! 

If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy, we highly recommend checking out “Driven” by Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo. 

Click here to get your copy and learn how this framework can help you in your business strategies and ultimately, in ethically maximizing wealth for your firm. 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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