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Can We Apply a Broad Brush to the Remote Work Problem?

The following content was contributed by Tom Healy who is a friend, founder, and co-creator of growth10 and mentumm. Both are national organizations dedicated to leadership growth. Companies both large and small are struggling to answer the question ‘what about returning to work?’ There is simply no one-size-fits-all type answer here.

How to solve the problem

Should we switch K-12 to being fully remote “learn from home”? What about making the entire college experience “remote work”? Seems like the cons outweigh the pros, right? Then why do we think the answer to almost every professional work environment these days is “let’s go fully remote, everyone will love it”? (I’d love eating chocolate cake every day too… just because it sounds wonderful doesn’t mean it’s what is best for me)

Don’t get me wrong, I completely get the remote work thing from both the employer and employee side… we’ve all heard to pros a million times now and in certain cases, it makes sense (type of role, type of company, etc). However, I believe we are autocorrecting too far towards remote work, and the people harmed by far the most are young professionals from ages 20-35 who fall in the category of “high performers trying to get better”.

What about high-performers?

A few important things about younger high-performers….

* I believe employees between 20-35 who want to achieve big things need to be MENTORED weekly. (Mentorship is different than management, supervision, reviewing goals, accountability, etc… you know the difference)

* They need the best habits of high-performing executives to rub off on them. This happens by OBSERVING, not be being told to do things.

* They need to be pushed harder by seeing others perform at a high level and that feeling needs to be contagious through the air…. in other words, experiencing a culture.

* They need to participate in those impromptu water cooler brainstorm sessions. Collaboration is an amazing thing.

Two sides

My advice for remote EMPLOYERS who truly want to invest in the development of their people: spend the money you are saving on office space by dumping it all (and more) into employee development. Coaching, training, development, mentorship… all of it, constantly… to recruit, develop and retain top performers.

My advice for remote EMPLOYEES who want to get better faster: demand your employer invests heavily in you or find someone that will… AND regardless of what any employer provides, be PROACTIVE and force YOURSELF to get better rapidly through podcasts, mentors, books, TedTalks, coaches… whatever you can get your hands on, just demand excellence out of yourself!

So what?

The bottom line… we have NO idea how badly remote work is stunting the long-term growth and development of the workforce, especially the future players who are currently under 35. If I were a remote employer, I would assume the damage was significant and immediately look for substantial, meaningful ways to inject coaching, mentorship, development, and accountability into the daily lives of high-performers…. and if I was a high performer trying to get better, I’d find every way possible to learn because without it I’m not growing fast enough if I’m just passively waiting for it to happen.

What do you think? Leave us a comment or share this on social media. Let’s keep the discussion going.


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