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4 Ways Continued Remote Work Could Torpedo Business and Career Success

remote work

4 Ways Continued Remote Work Could Torpedo Business and Career Success

The rise of remote work has changed the face of business, and in some cases brightened the outlook for employees weary of battling traffic during morning and late afternoon commutes.

Many of those employees hope their companies will stick with this new work-from-home reality even after the pandemic is nothing more than an unhappy memory.

But despite the benefits, continuing remote work beyond what is necessary could result in serious consequences, says Clint Padgett (, president and CEO of Project Success Inc. and the ForbesBooks author of How Teams Triumph: Managing By Commitment.

“Working from home limits the interaction between employees and their managers and co-workers,” Padgett says. “That might be fine for a short time, but over the long haul it means you aren’t developing relationships or communicating in ways necessary to create a cohesive team.”

So far, most people choose to focus on the upsides. More than half – 54 percent – of remote workers say that if given a choice they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center.

Padgett says employees and their employers may both come to regret that view. He says potential downsides of permanent work from home could include:

Employee burnout. When someone leaves an office at the end of the day, they put both actual distance and emotional distance between themselves and work. With remote work, Padgett says, that barrier between home and work is removed, which could lead to greater instances of burnout. As a result, people are more likely to produce poor quality work or leave their current jobs in search of something they hope will be better, he says.

The end of “serendipitous” meetings. In an office setting, not every exchange of ideas happens in scheduled meetings or formal brainstorming sessions. People see each other in hallways or the breakroom and start to chat. “Those organic conversations often result in creative thinking and problem solving,” Padgett says. “That’s a missing ingredient in the creative process with remote work.”

An increase of “silo-itis.” Even in an office, human nature leads people to seek out like-minded individuals, which means people within departments often stick together unless steps are taken to make sure they interact with others. “With the lack of physical interaction that remote work gives us, we will be even more isolated, working only within the team structure,” Padgett says. “That’s problematic because you get better results when people come out of their silos.”

The potential for lower pay. One of the perks of remote work is that people can live where they please and no longer need to be in the same general area as company headquarters. That means they can abandon high-cost areas in favor of communities where housing is cheaper. But Padgett points out that there are already news reportsthat some employers are considering paying people less as a result.

Right now remote work is the reality for many people, so to get the most out of it, managers should be proactive about making sure remote workers are actively included in Zoom meetings, Padgett says.

“And while I know nobody wants more Zoom meetings,” he says, “people may need to schedule one-on-one time with coworkers or to gather virtually in small groups just to chat and discuss non-work-related topics.

“That can help restore some of those serendipitous moments and reduce the problems associated with a return to silos.”


Clint Padgett (, the ForbesBooks author of How Teams Triumph: Managing By Commitment, is the president and CEO of Project Success Inc., a project management company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.


Did Your Employees Grow Apart In A Difficult 2020? 5 Tips For A Better Culture.

Given the uncertainty businesses face in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, company leaders are looking at every phase of their operation to determine ways they can improve.

Company culture is one area commanding attention. As the virus caused business limitations and forced many companies to go fully remote in 2020, workplace culture was challenged in new ways. This was a reminder to company leaders to make this a priority, forcing them to find ways to strengthen it in the new year, says Mark McClain, CEO and co-founder of SailPoint and the ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People).

“More and more, companies are starting to understand that they need to show employees that they value them as whole people,” McClain says.

“If you respect them, value them and treat them as professionals, they will go through walls for you. If you don’t, if you create an environment where the very thought of coming to work creates anxiety, then they are going to look for employment elsewhere.”

Issues within the workplace culture can fester and eventually lead to toxic relationships, lower productivity, and higher turnover. McClain says that as companies try to balance remote working with a return to the office, it’s critical that culture problems be diagnosed and dealt with.

“But too often,” he says, “leaders don’t have the time to dig into the root problems or don’t know how to really reach their people and devise solutions.”

McClain offers these tips for management to build a better workplace culture in 2021:

Make the health and well-being of your employees the first priority. “Putting your employees first makes them far more likely to be good producers for your company,” McClain says. “With the ongoing pandemic and 2021 bringing much uncertainty, it’s the right time to review workplace safety, collect employees’ thoughts on working remotely vs. coming back to the office, look at internal communications, and analyze management practices to make sure you’re addressing employees’ needs and concerns. Circulate employee surveys to get helpful feedback.”

Hire people who are culture fits. “Some people are very capable, but they happen to be jerks,” McClain says. “No matter how smart such a person might be, the negatives will eventually outweigh the positives. At the same time, you don’t want to hire people who are really nice but not terribly competent.”

Beware of fake culture. Some companies create what McClain calls “pseudo cultures,” which he describes as “thinly veiled come-ons where companies offer massages, free beer or other perks to attract employees.” Eventually, people figure out that a cool employee lounge with a ping-pong table does not make for a successful company. “Real organizational cultures are reflections of how companies treat people and create useful products,” he says.

Increase employee engagement. McClain says leaders should go the extra steps to get to know their employees – a big help in keeping them engaged. “It can be tougher initially to spot people who are not fully engaged,” he says. “The gut feeling leaders need in that regard develops over time with the determination to know your people as individuals. Not all managers are willing to do that, and that’s a mistake. Showing genuine concern can uncover issues that can steer the employee to the help they need.”

Promote a work-life balance. “It’s nice to have ultra-motivated climbers, and it’s essential for a forward-moving company to demand a lot of its people,” McClain says. “But not at the expense of burning them out, messing up their health and hurting their family relationships. That’s going to hurt the company in the long run as well.”

“Nurturing your internal culture,” McClain says, “enables people and business to thrive. It’s never been more important than now after a year of chaos and with more uncertainty ahead.”


Mark McClain (, ForbesBooks author of Joy and Success at Work: Building Organizations that Don’t Suck (the Life Out of People), is CEO of SailPoint, a leader in the enterprise identity management market. McClain has led the company from its beginnings in 2005, when it started as a three-person team, to today where SailPoint has grown to more than 1,200 employees who serve customers in 35 countries.

remote work

COVID-19, Remote Work, and Technology: Was 2020 just a blip?

How did 2020 reshape your business?

While some organizations were better prepared for a shift to working from home, only 14% of businesses worldwide had fully remote workforces prior to the pandemic.

This means that, at some level, 86% of us had to make sudden, rapid changes to adjust to an entirely remote way of operating, communicating, and leading.

As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella put it last April: “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security—we are working alongside customers every day to help them adapt and stay open for business in a world of remote everything.”

Now that vaccines are beginning to roll out and the prospect of returning to our offices becomes more tangible, the next question we face is this: Which elements of 2020 will stick, and which will we discard as soon as it’s safe to do so?

COVID-19 ushered in 6 primary changes to the way we work

The most obvious change to our work environments is that we made a quick shift to remote work—with varying levels of disruption and success. If we zoom in a bit closer, we can pull out six major changes:

1 – We embraced collaboration tools.

Microsoft Teams has seen a 160% increase in users from March to October, Slack sold for $27.7 billion, and Gartner predicts the worldwide market for social collaboration tools to reach $4.8 billion by 2023. While these tools were plenty popular pre-pandemic, many businesses found themselves without a way to communicate with a fully remote team and quickly implemented one package or another (or, in some cases, multiple packages).

2 – Live document coauthoring finally got our attention.

With “old school” collaboration methods off the table, we finally jumped head-first into tools that many of us already had access to, but weren’t really using—namely Microsoft SharePoint and Google Drive. Instead of emailing documents back and forth or trying to whiteboard over Zoom, we posted links in our new Slack or Teams channels and edited our project simultaneously.

3 – Video conferencing exploded.

Between Zoom (up to 300 million daily participants), Teams (up to 115 million daily users), and Google Meet (up to 100 million daily participants), we were on so many video calls last year. In fact, we spent so much time using these tools that “Zoom fatigue” became a thing we say in real life. The market for these tools is expected to hit $50 billion by 2026.

4 – Virtual events… happened.

All of our networking, fundraising, recruiting, team building, and client appreciation events went virtual. We tried webinars virtual conferences, virtual happy hours, virtual magic shows, and on and on and on. These, from anecdotal evidence, were better than nothing, but generally hit or miss.

5 – We stopped caring so much about where employees and new hires live.

If we’re all working from home, “home” can be anywhere. With 70% of company owners open to letting their employees work remotely after offices can safely reopen, we open the door to hiring the best talent regardless of their geographic location. There are a few hurdles to clear when it comes to expanding your company’s footprint (taxes and healthcare, for example), but we’ve quashed all concerns about effective remote work.

6 – We took less time off and burned out more.

Lastly, the combination of working from home and diving into applications that generate notifications 24/7 has further blurred the lines between “work” and “home.” A recent Monster survey found that 69% of workers are feeling burnout, 59% are (still) taking less time off than they normally would, and 42% don’t plan to take any time off.

So, which of these trends should we expect to stay for the long haul? Which will go? Here’s my take.

Trends that will stick through 2021 and beyond

When it comes to practices that boost efficiency and expand access to something as invaluable as top talent, few businesses will scrap them.

We’ll stick with video conferencing. In the first few months post-vaccine, many of us will have been so starved for in-person meetings that we’ll schedule as many as we can. Over time, however, I suspect we’ll find a happy medium and balance video conferencing with face-to-face meetings—perhaps opting to make new connections in person and maintain them over video. This balance will be of particular value to those of us in metropolitan areas, where one hour-long meeting chews up half a day with traffic!

Document collaboration won’t budge. Once your teammates (and your clients!) have gotten a taste of how much more efficient real-time collaboration is, there will be no going back. It won’t be a matter of whether we keep this solution, but how we bolster it with the right policies and security measures.

Slack and Teams won’t either. We’ll see a new trend of businesses getting smarter with how they use Slack and Teams—and in cases where employees jumped into multiple platforms as a stop-gap, there will (should!) be some consolidation. But overall, we won’t be turning down the tools that have such power to amplify productivity and engagement.

We’ll expand our recruiting efforts. As long as a particular role does not explicitly require feet on the ground at or our office or at client sites, most of us will be much more willing to let go of geographic restrictions on our job postings in an effort to find the absolute best fit.

Trends most businesses will abandon post-vaccine

In other cases, our businesses will be happy to revert back to traditional approaches:

We won’t ditch our offices (at least not yet). Few of us are going to follow in Twitter’s footsteps and go all virtual all the time; we have years left on our leases, and will get our money’s worth once we can do so safely. When that lease is set to expire we’ll have a big decision to make as far as remote work is concerned. Even then, the majority of larger businesses plan to perhaps downsize, but ultimately keep a brick-and-mortar office as we still see value in the happenstance interactions and energy generated by working together in person.

Goodbye, virtual happy hours! To the business community’s credit, we have been getting extremely creative with virtual events that are fun and engaging. But once we can opt for an in-person happy hour versus a virtual happy hour, or a live lunch-and-learn versus a webinar… the choice becomes a no-brainer.

Hello, vacations! Finally—and thankfully—we’ll resume traveling and being more protective of our time “off the clock” once our options open up. This will be a welcome chance for our folks to step back from the many hardships that we’ve faced over the past year, rest, and reenergize.

Final thought

While these are my predictions on how these trends will fare over time, now is the time to crystalize the vision of what the future of your business looks like. Work with your leadership team sooner rather than later to address the following:

1. What is your stance on remote work post-vaccine, and how will you communicate that to your team?

2. How will you make sure you’re getting the most out of your collaboration tools?

3. What is your policy on file sharing, and does it take backup and security into proper account?

4. What guidelines will you set for video conferencing as communication, sales, and engagement tool?

5. Will you change your approach to networking, events, and celebrations?

6. Will you set geographic limitations on your hiring efforts?

7. What message do you need to send regarding after-hours and weekend work? Vacation?

We’re fortunate to be in a place where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the pandemic. But even if we abandon some of our COVID-era trends in favor of more “normal” alternatives, the impact of 2020 on our businesses will not be undone.

We embraced new tools. We found new efficiencies. We know remote work works.

Why go backwards?