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A virtually remote future for collaborative working

The devastating impact of COVID-19 has compelled people to work remotely, impacting on collaborative working and applying skill sets usually applied in traditional workplaces. Callum Booth, TNW Editor, discussed these issues with Marit Janssen, a Transformation Consultant at ABN AMRO.

Today’s remote world is very different from the staged ‘office environment’ built to engage, inspire and motivate day to day. In this new way of working, digital interaction requires individuals to apply their skills in a very different landscape, particularly when it comes to leadership.

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“If you struggle with leadership, then remote working leaves you more exposed,” claimed Marit. “Walking the floor of your department gives closeness to your peers. Although you might be busy, because people see you they feel the distance is less. But in a remote world this [distance] is actually huge. Therefore you need to rethink: ‘How can I do that in this blended world?’ It’s about reapplying that skill instead of having to learn new ones.”

Navigating towards the next few years, the future of collaborative working looks to take on a more hybrid style, raising the question as to what the future holds for employees returning to the office.

Marit observed: “Starting with your company vision and intent is crucial – if that’s not there then it’s really difficult to navigate. Knowing how the company will work as a remote model or staying in a blended/hybrid world is key. Once a company knows its intent, it’s important to then engage employees into that conversation.”

Flexibility and effective communication are what’s needed to keep up with the changes associated with working remotely. With clear goals and a focus on engaging, companies will learn and see what does and doesn’t work for them during this global transition from physical to virtual.