A Remote Working PMO
Recently, I was asked to write a blog about what it’s like working as a remote PMO and whilst I did consider going for the hour-by-hour breakdown of what I do and try to throw in an amusing observation or two about how my stairs aren’t as convenient as an escalator or how the coffee shop downstairs has started selling instant and is saving me a ton of cash, I thought I would try a different angle.
Rather than a brief “how do I operate from home as A Remote Working PMO” why not share with you what this last year has got me thinking about; what could the future of remote working look like and how could it benefit not just the sector, but the country/the world.
Below I have posed a question. I will give you my thoughts, and then I will encourage you to give me your take in the comments below – whether this is a direct challenge to my thinking or a different spin you would apply from your experience, that I will leave to you.
Caveat: These are my thoughts, and my opinions only. They do not necessarily represent that of APS or of its employees and I appreciate there will be limitations – this is a blog after all, not my party manifesto…which will follow ahead of the next general election…anyway, the question:
Question: Having worked remotely for a whole year now – what are your thoughts in terms of the future of remote working? Will it continue, or will it be back to BAU in no time?
This last year has demonstrated what is possible in terms of remote working. It is by no means perfect. Productivity is dependent on a good internet connection and a strong will to ignore household distractions AND consideration needs to be given to social interaction, without which, we as sociable creatures would be destined to a future without sensory contact and doom scrolling social media looking for a quick endorphin fix.
Conversely, however, the opportunities are seemingly endless. Not just from a business perspective where monies can be saved on building rents and maintenance, office equipment and/or 3rd party service suppliers (such as catering and security)…but there is a very real opportunity here to spread the work and thus, wealth, throughout the country.
If the only major dependency for remote working is a good internet connection, then maybe there is an argument for HS2 to be laying fibre optic cable, not another railway. There are untapped resource pools outside the London catchment area that are just waiting to be utilised.
Through my ever-optimistic mind’s eye, if we can unlock access to these resource pools and allow people to work from wherever they want in the country, through remote working then:
Wealth could be distributed throughout the country (and not just focussed within the capital). Local unemployment rates would decrease, and communities would increase their funding through local taxation. These monies could be spent on improving the local environment, renovating community buildings, clearing parks and used to support the much-needed health and social care services. Communities would be supported from every angle and benefit from the new injection of funding.
We could also see the return of town square markets and local businesses as a response to people being able to earn and therefore spend in their local communities. As a result, giant multi-national corporations would not have the same level of control they have now, as alternative options would be available, not to mention the country would benefit from tax revenues actually being realised into the economy.
There is also the possibility of increased disposable income because a proportion of the monthly salary is no longer needed to pay to commute which in turns helps support with the cost of living and paying for hobbies/interests etc. benefiting our well-being and reducing anxiety (though I appreciate that earning potential will reduce as competition is diluted however, as long as everything remains relative, I feel this is still achievable).
And if we could remove the 1 to 2 hours of commuting, either side of our working day, we’d not only have more time to be sociable and maximise those moments with our friends and family that we have all craved and missed over this last year BUT think also of the positive impact we’d be having on combating climate change without daily journeys to work in our cars or on public transport.
TL:DR – Increasing remote working could benefit: The community by increasing opportunity, Health and Social Care by bringing taxable income to deprived areas, increase the number of Small and Local Businesses by increasing wealth in local areas, reduce dependency on large multi-nation corporations and bring those Taxable incomes into the economy, reduce Anxiety and increase Well-being with more disposable income, increase time for Social Interaction and have a dramatic impact on our efforts in combating Climate Change.
These are just my thoughts; I would love to know what your think? Do you feel this is plausible or completely unrealistic? Or do you have a different take on what the future might be, given the opportunity remote working has brought us? Let me know in the comments below.
As for me, I see the above as a very realistic, albeit prolonged, opportunity and a potential positive that can be taken away from an otherwise tragic period of loss. It would take a colossal shift in focus from someone with influence to lead this transformation, someone with a focus on delivery and distribution, and not of personal gain.
I will remain hopefully optimistic that one day this will happen, and I will play my part in training, coaching, supporting, guiding, whatever it takes (I could even knock up a reporting template or two), as that as “A Remote Working PMO” is what I do best.
To all that read this, thank you and Stay Safe, Stay Well.