I have spent a lot of time this year speaking to various people about remote work.

Now let me say early on I am no expert, like all of us we are figuring out a lot as we go and I understand that everyone’s situation is different. Everyone comes at remote work with their own experiences and many roles can’t work remotely even if they wanted to.

I think the start of COVID-19 pushed us into a “future” of work, that could have taken 5 years of digital transformation but was achieved in a matter of days/weeks. Why, because we HAD to. We had to react, we had to move quickly and we had to adapt. 

More and more recently though I think we question the negative impact of “remote working” for a variety of reasons. Mental health of our people, productivity, trust, communication and collaboration. We have to stop to remember that HAVING to work from home is very different to remote working/flexible working or work from anywhere. 

I wanted to pull out some thoughts as to why this is happening and try help to provide some context for consideration when we broad brush statements around remote work.

Blur of work life and personal life – Digital 

  • Zooms, teams and House Party! All communication feels the same and often even takes place on the same device and in the same physical space.

Burn out

  • “Just one last thing”, it is hard to switch off when you don’t have anything to go and do.

Screens, screens, screens

  • We close a screen (laptop) on the working day to move room and turn on a new screen (TV).

Same place and same space.

  • Remote work often blends offices, co lab spaces, coffee shops and homes. We are in one space, all day, everyday.

To extend on the above we have colleagues that perhaps are now working, relaxing and sleeping in the same room!

No “break” to the norm

  • Can’t turn off to get out for dinner, see friends or go on planned holidays.

Forced fun

  • Zoom bingo isn’t everyone’s bag, we bombarded people at the start of lock down with a digital medium.

Move, move, move

  • It is too easy to stay in the same space, who said we couldn’t come away from Teams/Slack and just have a normal phone call whilst taking a walk?

Have you got 5?

  • These moments are now scheduled 30min-60min calls that some how ALWAYS take up the full time! Our lives have become so scheduled and mapped out by the hours of the day

Sorry, sorry….No you go….

  • How many times have you started to speak on a call only to talk over someone. The delay of sound across digital tools inevitably means this happens. Over 2 people in a call and this can crush creativity and group input

We are all feeling flat and burnt out

  • We are all figuring this out as we go and let’s be honest it is relentless! When was the last time you had a conversation that didn’t include some context of COVID?

We need to remember some of the points above when looking towards the future of work inside “work from anywhere” and the impact on our people. I am not sure that companies who made a quick call to permanently close physical offices thought this fully through. Remote working/work for anywhere is about a blend of physical space, communication styles and work life balance. There isn’t a “one size fits all” for any company, any role or any individual so perhaps we should stop trying to force one?

For enquiries contact –

Hannah Smith
Group Marketing Manager