The real reason companies are failing at remote work (and what to do about it)


The shift toward remote work has not been successful for many companies due to various reasons. During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies often took their traditional office model and transferred it online without adequately reskilling managers for remote team management. This resulted in issues like Zoom fatigue and the struggle to adapt to a remote work environment.

To truly succeed in remote work, businesses need to adopt a "remote first" mindset, where remote collaboration is ingrained in their culture and working practices. However, many traditional companies have not made the necessary architectural changes to facilitate remote work, which can be seen as a daunting and disruptive task for leaders.

Despite this, research has shown numerous benefits of effective remote work environments, such as considering different time zones, accessing a wider talent pool, and focusing on output rather than physical presence. To make remote work successful, it is crucial to consciously create a remote work ecosystem, which includes providing dedicated virtual workspaces and promoting consistency.

Additionally, companies should consider reducing the number of meetings and embracing asynchronous communication by default. This enables employees to engage more meaningfully during necessary meetings and avoid meeting fatigue. Building intentional interpersonal connections, both professionally and socially, through online communication is also essential.

Promoting autonomy is another key factor for success in remote work. Over-the-shoulder management is counterproductive, and employees should be trusted to deliver specific outputs and results in their own way, while still being held accountable.

Lastly, cultural alignment is vital for remote work teams. Successful remote companies often have a strong core mission and values that all employees are aligned with. Ensuring cultural alignment during the recruitment, onboarding, and ongoing processes helps foster a shared sense of mission among remote employees and contributes to high-performing teams.  

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