Is working from home working smoothly for you and your team? Or is it causing all kinds of drama, delay and frustration? If we’re honest, it’s probably a bit of both. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal illustrates the point well.
One of the most anticipated video game releases of the year is CyberPunk 2077. CD Project SA, the Polish company responsible for it, suffered several delays in meeting its release date. While several factors caused the delays, one of the most obvious was the the inability to make quick changes, solve problems and react to problems as they arose. Working from home exacerbated these problems.
What the article shows, is that those who believe working from home is a utopian solution to the modern workplace may be getting ahead of themselves. It also clearly demonstrates that while there are problems when people don’t share a workspace, they can often be mitigated and addressed.
Illustrating the good and bad about working from home
- The original budget and timeline was put together under the assumption that people would be (mostly) working together. Throughout most of the development process, the teams were working well and quickly. Some people were always working from home, most shared a workplace. Problem solving was easier and people could walk to someone’s desk to see what a problem was and quickly brainstorm solutions. Because that was the way they were used to working, the project assumed that’s how the whole thing would be done. COVID put a monkey wrench in those plans. Stuff happens.
- It’s clear there are advantages to working together. As organizations consider what life will be like post-pandemic, they need to take into account that some problem solving and collaboration is, indeed, best done in person. This isn’t to say people can’t (or shouldn’t) work from home, but there are parts of the collaborative process where fast response and human interaction adds value. Whatever the new abnormal looks like, it will likely contain more of an intentional mix of who works where. Not everyone needs to be in the office all the time, but sometimes you need to shower, dress and show up.
- The reaction to the article was a good lesson. The article was well-written and interesting, but the most fascinating thing about it was the comment section. You had to go dozens of comments down to find anything about the problems work from home caused. The readers reactions were all about the game. The quality of the finished product, frustration over the delay, praise for the production team were top of mind for the readers of the article.
Begin with the end in mind
This was instructive and might serve as a guide to all of us: your customers and end users are not as concerned about what goes on as they are the finished product. Issues that seem like the end of the world might seem more important to the team or the project owner than the end user. Also, if the final product delights the customer, a lot is forgiven.
Working from home is neither the answer to everything, nor the enemy. The organization and employees should be making these decisions based on what will create the best result and meet customer expectations while doing what must be done.
Your team will very likely be working remotely in some way, shape or form next year. Are they ready to reach their full potential as remote teammates. Our 12 Weeks to Being a Great Remote Teammate learning program can help you reach that goal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager
Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in Management-Issues.com.
Wayne, along with Kevin Eikenberry, has co-authored the definitive book on leading remotely, The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership. You can pre-order Kevin and Wayne’s follow-up book, The Long-Distance Teammate, now.