The term Remote Working conjures up a range of reactions for various reasons. Try replacing the word “REMOTE” with “RIGHT”; what is the RIGHT way for people to work now?
Start with your customer
What are their expectations now? Will they think your office is an unnecessary overhead that they are indirectly subsidising? How would they now like to interact?
How will your colleagues now interact?
Who has the skills to facilitate interactions across various locations, including colleagues in office meeting rooms and those remote, achieving a balance of input? This skill can be learned, and the more people practise the better they become. Who can mentor others? At a former employer, this skill grew overtime as teams connected in different geographies. Create situations within your organisation to support people to develop this skill.
Social interactions build relationships
These can potentially create meaningful relationships between people, and greater trust is a by-product. When things become challenging, generally, people pull together better if they trust one another.
How are bonds now created?
The “in-site” is the new off-site. When teams come together for an in-site at the office, be sure the agenda has time for social interactions to build bonds!
Where are people, customers or employees now interacting? Where are your competitors or those in parallel industries interacting with their customers? Where would your teams like to be or enjoy interacting?
Experiment with all of these.
If an experiment is ambitious, try it with your employees first or those friendly customers, test and apply the learnings. Avoid the temptations of mandating a return to what was as somewhere there is an organisation that will be doing something different, and people are more likely than before to consider it.
If you are not certain, always ask yourself and encourage others - ‘What feels RIGHT?’