September 22, 2020

Envisioning Your Remote Work Culture

In this issue of High Impact Insights, we will walk you through a strategic planning exercise adapted to consider remote work and the challenges you will have building an organizational culture to support your vision. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many organizations were quickly forced into new remote-work situations. We can all agree that remote work can be challenging during the best of times even with organizations that are well-versed with remote work. For organizations who were forced into the situation, there were growing pains. 

Looking around the landscape, many believe that remote work will remain ingrained in our country long after the pandemic subsides. Has your organization taken the time to thoughtfully, intentionally consider the ramifications?

Consider your ideal future state

For five minutes, write down everything you want your organization’s remote work situation and culture to be. 

Consider questions like, do you want to be able to hire the best of the best without geographic limits? Do you want a culture that supports an employee working in both the office and from home? Do you want a well-integrated team where members are connected and engaged regardless of where they work? Will your remote work options be synchronized (Does all remote work need to happen within the same general business hours timeframe of on-site employees?) or will asynchronized work be your future (Work can happen at any time during the day or night)?

Consider where you are

The next step is to take honest stock of where you are in your remote work journey. Reflect on questions like, is your technology adequate for the future you want for your team? Are there things you are doing right now that will transition well to a remote work environment?  Is everyone on your leadership team supportive of this vision? Are there team members who hold negative views on remote work? 

Make note of successes you can build on, and the stumbling blocks you have. Negative biases or outdated opinions on the effectiveness of remote work, or the dismissal of the advantages of remote work, can be a major hindrance to your successful implementation of remote work policies and building the culture necessary to sustain them. 

Now make your plan

When you put your vision of where you want to be next to your assessment of where you are right now, the steps you need to accomplish to close that gap begin to reveal themselves. 

Ensure that your plan builds on what you are doing well right now, and addresses the top five barriers to achieving your vision. 

Planning shouldn’t happen in a vacuum, so repeat this exercise with a board member or two and a couple employees. Take the time to thoughtfully consider how their answers differ from yours before you finalize your plan.

Parting thoughts 

In this edition of High Impact Insights, we’ve adapted a simple strategic visioning exercise for you to use as you consider the future of remote work in your organization. While many of us were thrust into it due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t mean that we need to continue to muddle through. With some thoughtful consideration and careful planning, remote work can become an asset and advantage to your organization.