Computer on Desk

“My boss is bringing everyone back to the office full time just because that is what he is comfortable with. I have been having an ongoing conversation with him on the benefits of working remotely at least part-time. He is having none of it.”

“He says he cannot trust everyone in the remote environment, we need the face-to-face time to ensure we continue to build camaraderie and sustain our culture, particularly for the new folks. Finally, he says we are not as productive. Which I totally disagreed and pushed back with the data on how well we did during the pandemic.”

Here is what I heard in that exchange by my client describing her boss. He wants everyone back in the office because:

  • He does not trust them
  • He believes culture is best built and maintained face-to-face
  • He believes high productivity is tied to being in-person

We can make all kinds of assumptions about this boss however, I see the bottom line for my client as; she needs to address his primary concerns of trust, culture, and productivity.

What about the team you are leading? Are you ready to allow more remote work or are you bringing everyone back into the office? The above three elements are applicable to every leader. In my opinion, if we as leaders adequately address all three considerations, remote and/or hybrid work is doable. Let’s look at an overview of each.


How do you build trust in the virtual or hybrid environment? My answer, the same way you do in the in-person environment. In a previous video, we talked about four elements a leader needs to build trust. Those are: setting the example, setting and enforcing the standard, building and sustaining morale, and exhibiting moral courage.

What do you think your team wants from you in terms of trust? What do you want from them? Research has found, leaders who want their people in the office to have a mindset of visibility equates to accountability. What does this mode of operation do for retention? Do you want to work for a boss who trusts you only when they see you?


What is the culture in an organization? It is how the team interacts and works together. Whether you are in person or virtual, your organization has a culture. Make it what you want it to be. A collaborative social culture is possible virtually. You have to be deliberate about how you cultivate your culture. Letting the culture evolve without your direction can be a recipe for something you really don’t like.


Working virtually is not new, it has been around for about 20 years, mostly in the tech world. CISCO and Sun Micro System were one of the first to go mainstream with a large percentage of their workforce being virtual. It is certainly new for a lot of us. Remote meetings, less travel, less office space requirements, and less commute time have made us more productive. Does your team have to be in the office 100% of the time to be productive? Does your team want some remote work? Ask them for the productivity standards and solutions. You may be surprised at what your team tells you.

Remote work is here to stay. How are you leveraging it with your team? We’ll continue this exploration into the three areas: trust, culture, and productivity.