Should I really have to work remotely so often?

There are benefits to seeing your team once in a while, says Jeremy Bullmore.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 07 Jul 2015

Q: My employer really encourages remote working and it's very popular, but as a manager I find it increasingly hard to deal with. My team is now so completely virtual that we don't all sit down together in the same room for months on end. Can I insist that we meet up more often?

Jeremy Says: You can and indeed I think you must. It's true that an immense amount of time can be wasted in meetings and it's true that technology has made it technically possible for an immense amount of travelling time to be saved by people working from home.

I know of no serious study that has been made of the incidental benefits that accrue when team members are in regular physical contact with each other - but I know, as you must, that they not only exist but are significant. I suspect your employer believes that, just because something has become possible for the first time, it must be a Good Thing. Well, it may be - but it should never be taken for granted.

You're paid to run a team. And the more you understand about the dynamics of a team - any team - the more you realise that a team whose members seldom meet each other is a contradiction in terms. If you allow your team to remain dispersed for much longer, your employer will start blaming you for its disappointing performance - and that you'd find extremely hard to take.

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