Are we still enjoying remote working? Time to review

Author: GMN Associate Lorraine Wrafter

Most of us have been working remotely for over 3 months and are starting to go back to the office. Now, is a great time to review remote working. 

 Organisations need to decide:

  • When to resume full time office work, now, 3, 6 months...

  • Can individuals work remotely full time

  • Can teams/departments work remotely full time

  • A mix of remote and office work

What have been the unintended consequences (positive & negative) to remote working

As your teams return to work, it is a good time to ask:

  • What worked well working remotely

  • What didn’t work well

  • What should be stopped, started and continue to do

  • What have been the unintended consequences (positive & negative) to remote working

Some of the unintended consequences of remote working that I have heard from colleagues, clients and friends are:


  • Getting to know your colleague's family and pets, planned and unplanned!

  • Mistakes are forgiven more as the ‘crisis’ encouraged people to innovative and take risks

  • Level playing of team members, particularly those that are at other locations/countries away from the majority of the team


Out of site out of mind

  • No longer have a voice or a vote

  • Miss out on coffee corner discussions and opportunities to give input

  • Talent Management – forgotten for new projects or positions 

Decision-making slowed down

  • Lack of confidence to make the decision on their own.  Lost opportunity to quickly pop over to a colleague/manager desk to get input. 

  • Hard to get hold of a person on email/phone. In the office you could walk over to their desk and get their attention

  • No time to think at home. One video call after another, family commitments and distractions. Commuting gave time to think!

To have a sustainable remote working environment and effective remote teams the key points to consider are:

  • Strategy - It impacts the whole business.

  • Costs and Flexibility - What are the costs. Equipment, insurance, hot office space etc

  • Ground rules - How to work remotely.

  • Training - What knowledge and skills are needed to work remotely.

  • Maintain effective and productive teams - What will be different and what will stay the same.

  • Communications - When and how often will team members check in.

  • Managing performance - How and when will the team review business, team and individual goals.

  • Talent Management - Development and succession planning of remote teams

  • Workforce Planning - Opportunity to increase in part-time and shared jobs.

  • Reward - Reward and benefits need to be reviewed and adapted.

  • Maintain Culture - How will the culture and brand be maintained and thrive with remote working and virtual teams.

  • Well-being - How to manage employee welfare to avoid feeling lonely and isolated.

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