The 1 Question Leaders Should Ask Before Returning to the Office

Are we moving back to the office? Nearly every executive has received this question in the last year. I propose a change of perspective that has value in business conversations—why should we?

In 2020, many Sirius clients were abruptly pushed into a remote operations model. Some did so with flawless execution, and some wished it had gone so smoothly. Many of these same clients are now discussing moving back to the office as their staff gets vaccinated. The question we must ask is why? Is it because of an operational paradigm? Questions like this force leaders to provide valid reasons for requiring their employees to return to the office or continue to work remotely. Whatever their choice, the growing trend is for businesses to allow employees to permanently move to remote work, so leaders must identify if their organization is fully enabled for the future. And what does their choice say about the management style of their organization versus their competitors? What does this mean? Executive leaders need to ask better questions about what location means to them.

When Sirius went remote, the company experienced few impacts to its Managed Services cloud teams. This is because our teams operate in an agile fashion by hosting daily standup calls, using product boards to track tasks, regularly working across multiple time zones, and developing a culture that encourages engineers stuck on a problem to call in another engineer within 15 minutes. This culture and flexibility allows Sirius to hire engineers wherever the best candidate lives. In this context, the right candidate is better than the right location. Proximity to the team or client is not a limitation. It’s not even a part of the conversation.

A traditional management style does not drive conversations at Sirius. Instead, we ask ourselves:

  • How do we move forward as a technology company?
  • How many social interactions are needed at a team level to drive cohesion that enhances retention?
  • Do we need joint meetings once or twice a year?
  • Should we host monthly company-funded virtual lunches?
  • Is there a tax benefit to our offices that we must maintain?
  • How do we onboard new employees in a cohesive way?
  • How do we ensure that employees have face-to-face time with leads?
  • What are we doing to ensure employees have access to training that is appropriate for their learning style?
  • Do managers need to meet differently?
  • Which of our divisions require an office presence?
  • If the need for office presence varies by business unit, how does our business accommodate that?
  • What are the impacts on morale?

The questions we aren’t asking are equally as important to share with our clients. We don’t question how we can ensure our staff is working or how our teams communicate because management and technology today are not the same as they were from 1980 to 2005. The world has changed, and so have we. COVID-19 has brought new changes to our working conditions, and it’s up to business leaders to determine if they will rise to ride the wave of a virtual workforce. Will the future of your organization be based on business needs, or your comfort level?

If you need help navigating Sirius offerings or figuring out how your organization can work through the unique challenges of enabling a remote workforce, contact your Sirius representative or visit www.siriuscom.com.

By |2021-04-30T14:30:30-05:00May 3rd, 2021|Blog|Comments Off on The 1 Question Leaders Should Ask Before Returning to the Office

About the Author:

Alan Grantham is the Vice President of Cloud Strategy for Sirius.