Remote or office-based – what’s the big deal? As long as the work is getting done! Right?

With many high-profile companies signaling the end of remote work or at least a decrease in remote work, I wanted to explore the considerations in full.

The benefits of remote work are well-known, so I won’t go into detail here.

For employees:

  • Travel costs are lower.
  • Less time spent traveling and reduced stress from commuting.
  • Potentially less distractions.
  • Improved work-life balance.
  • Ability to set up your work environment how you like it.

For employers:

  • Cost savings – lower overheads and operating costs.
  • Access to a wider talent pool.
  • Assists diversity and inclusion, especially when it’s flexible (remote ≠ flexible).
  • Reduction in absenteeism.
  • Productivity improves.
  • Loyalty increases.
  • Forces modernization and technology adoption.

However, it’s the disadvantages and potential downsides where things get a little more complicated.

For employees

  • Visibility for promotion: When you’re not in the office, it can be harder for your manager and other decision-makers to see your work, accomplishments, how you deal with challenges, and your communication with other employees. This can make it more difficult to get promoted.
  • Separating work and home: It can be challenging to create a clear boundary between work and personal time when you’re working from home. This can lead to burnout, as you may find yourself working longer hours or checking work emails outside of work hours.
  • Distractions: When you’re working from home, there are many more potential distractions than there are in an office. Whether it be household chores, pets, family, or perhaps without direct supervision you have a tendency to procrastinate.
  • Meeting overload: What could be a quick question in the office may turn into an ineffective meeting when working remotely. In an effort to boost communication and collaboration too many meetings are booked with too many people.
  • Learning and growth opportunities: It can be harder to learn new skills and grow your career when you’re not in the office and interacting with your colleagues. This is because you miss out on the informal learning that happens naturally in the office, such as asking questions and brainstorming ideas with your colleagues.
  • Communication: You miss out on the informal but important chats that happen naturally in the office. Not only for building relationships with colleagues but keeping up to date on projects, asking quick questions, and nudging a colleague politely that you are waiting on something from them.
  • Innovation: It can be harder to be innovative and feel connected to the business when you’re not in the office. You may miss out on the day-to-day interactions with customers, clients, and other stakeholders, understanding those things that will really make a difference and need to get done.
  • Loneliness/isolation: It can be lonely working from home all day, and you may miss the social interaction of the office. This can lead to isolation and depression.
  • Increased technology dependency: You become more reliant on technology when you’re working remotely. This can lead to burnout, as you may be constantly checking emails, messages, and other notifications.

For employers

  • Difficulty onboarding new hires: It can be more difficult to onboard new hires when they’re not in the office. This is because you miss out on the opportunity to tangibly introduce them to the company culture and team members in person.
  • Identifying training needs: The work might be getting done, but you may not be able to see the challenges that remote employees are facing, which can make it difficult to identify the training and support they need.
  • Identifying leadership potential: Those informal interactions in the office, the help provided, the suggestions, and the attitude can’t be seen as easily in a remote environment.
  • Security risks: The risk of data breaches, sensitive or confidential information being misplaced, malware or network intrusions are reportedly far greater.
  • Team building: Getting to know people on video is far different than in the office or the after-work social, familiarity builds trust
  • Collaboration: Even with some amazing tech to assist collaboration, sometimes the best ideas occur outside of meetings and formal situations, and getting validation for ideas is less simple. Familiarity with the work of others is limited when you aren’t in close proximity.
  • Fostering a company culture: That sense of community and belonging is harder to feel a part of. Successes of the team may feel intangible.
  • Employees feeling disconnected: When employees don’t feel part of something it can lead to a lack of motivation and engagement.

So, what can be done to ensure remote working is actually working?

Here are a few tips:

Visibility for promotion:

  • Set clear expectations and guidelines for remote employees. This should include what is expected of them in terms of their work output, communication, and availability.
  • Provide regular feedback and performance reviews. This will help employees track their progress and identify areas where they can improve.
  • Encourage remote employees to participate in company events and activities. This will help them stay connected to the company and their colleagues.
  • Consider implementing a formal mentorship program for remote employees. This will give them the opportunity to learn from and network with more experienced employees.

Separating work and home:

  • Encourage remote employees to set up a dedicated workspace in their homes, if possible, and get to know their individual circumstances to support their needs. This will help them create a clear boundary between work and personal time.
  • Set clear boundaries with family members or housemates. Let them know when you are available and unavailable.
  • Take breaks throughout the day to get away from your computer and relax.
  • Exercise regularly. This will help you reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.


  • Identify the distractions that are most common for you and develop strategies to deal with them. For example, if you find yourself getting distracted by social media, try turning off your notifications or using a website blocker.
  • Set aside specific times for checking email and social media. This will help you avoid checking them constantly throughout the day.
  • Take breaks throughout the day to get away from your computer and work on something else. This will help you stay focused and productive.

Meeting overload:

  • Use video conferencing tools to make meetings more efficient. This will help you avoid having to travel to meetings and save time.
  • Have a clear and written agenda with clear expectations for meetings. This should include the purpose of the meeting, who should attend, and what should be accomplished.
  • Keep meetings short and to the point.
  • Don’t over-invite.

Learning and growth opportunities:

  • Encourage remote employees to take online courses or workshops. This will help them stay up-to-date on the latest trends in their field.
  • Provide remote employees with access to mentorship programs and other resources. This will help them develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Encourage remote employees to network with colleagues and other professionals in their field. This will help them stay connected and learn from others.

Informal learning moments and communication:

  • Use instant messaging or video conferencing tools to stay connected with colleagues.
  • Encourage remote employees to participate in company chat rooms or forums.
  • Schedule regular team lunches or coffee breaks. This will give remote employees the opportunity to socialize and connect with their colleagues. Think speed-dating for work.


  • Encourage remote employees to share their ideas and suggestions.
  • Give remote employees the opportunity to work on projects that they are passionate about.
  • Provide remote employees with access to the same information and resources as in-office employees.
  • Share company objectives regularly, share challenges and priorities for different teams within the organisation and encourage people to ask questions.


  • Encourage remote employees to stay connected with their colleagues and friends. This could involve setting up regular video calls or coffee breaks.
  • Encourage remote employees to join clubs or groups related to their interests.
  • Provide remote employees with access to mental health resources.

Increased technology dependency:

  • Encourage remote employees to take breaks throughout the day to get away from their computers and relax.
  • Encourage phone calls, where appropriate.
  • Have days with no online meetings or dont expect responses to BAU emails on some days.
  • Provide remote employees with ergonomic equipment to help prevent injuries.

Being a manager of a remote team comes with its own unique challenges; empathy is key! Taking time to understand, regularly, each person’s situation, challenges, desires etc can be so valuable in helping to appreciate and work towards mitigating many of the potential problems outlined above.

The decision of whether to work remotely or in the office is a complex one.

There are pros and cons to both approaches. Ultimately, the best approach for a particular company or employee will depend on a variety of factors and even within a company, different teams may benefit from different approaches.

How To Become a Great Leader: Key Qualities to Develop

When you think of a great leader who do you think of?

Steve Jobs – had a clear vision for Apple and was able to inspire and motivate his team to achieve that vision.

Jeff Bezos – Amazon has evolved and adapted to the changing marketplace to make it one of the most successful companies in the world.

Elon Musk – A risk taker who has shown considerable innovation with the likes of Tesla and SpaceX.

What makes them great leaders?

There are many qualities that make a top performing leader, but some of the most important include:

  • Vision: Top performing leaders have a clear vision for the future of their organization. They are able to articulate that vision to others and inspire them to share it.
  • Communication: Top performing leaders are effective communicators. They are able to clearly and concisely communicate their ideas and goals to others. They are also good listeners and are able to build rapport with their team members.
  • Decision-making: Top performing leaders are able to make sound decisions under pressure. They are able to weigh the pros and cons of different options and make the best decision for the organization, even when there is no easy answer. They take calculated risks.
  • Problem-solving: Top performing leaders are able to identify and solve problems. They are able to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions.
  • Teamwork: Top performing leaders are able to build and lead high-performing teams. They are able to delegate tasks effectively and create a positive and productive work environment.
  • Adaptability: Top performing leaders are able to adapt to change. They are able to anticipate and respond to changes in the market, industry, and organization. They are also able to lead their teams through periods of change.

Once you have cracked all of those, then its time to work on:

  • Empathy: Great leaders understand and empathize with the needs and emotions of their team members. They treat others with respect and compassion.
  • Integrity: Great leaders act with honesty and integrity. They set a good example and hold themselves accountable for their actions.
  • Continuous Learning: Great leaders are always seeking knowledge and self-improvement. They stay updated on industry trends and seek feedback to grow personally and professionally.
  • Resilience: Great leaders are resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks. They demonstrate perseverance and stay determined to achieve their goals.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Great leaders have a high level of emotional intelligence. They understand and manage their own emotions effectively and can empathize with and support others in managing their emotions.
  • Empowerment: Great leaders empower their team members by giving them autonomy and responsibility. They trust their team to make decisions and take ownership of their work.
  • Innovation: Great leaders foster a culture of innovation. They encourage creativity and are open to new ideas and approaches.
  • Flexibility: Great leaders are flexible and adaptable. They can adjust their plans and strategies based on new information or changing circumstances.
  • Authenticity: Great leaders are authentic and genuine. They stay true to their values and principles, which helps build trust and credibility with their team.
  • Servant Leadership: Great leaders prioritize the needs of their team members. They are servant leaders who support and serve their team, rather than just giving orders.

Some of these may come naturally to you, some may not, but if you have got the desire to lead then here are some additional tips for developing your leadership skills:

  • Set goals for yourself and track your progress. This will help you stay motivated and focused.
  • Seek out opportunities to lead. This could mean volunteering for a leadership position in your community or taking on a leadership role at work.
  • Get feedback from others. Learn to identify areas where you can improve.
  • Read books and articles about leadership. This will help you learn from the experiences of other leaders.
  • Attend leadership training courses. This is a great way to learn new skills and techniques.

Developing your leadership skills takes time and effort, but it is definitely worth it. By following these tips, you can become a top performing leader and make a positive impact on the world.

Good luck.

Tips for writing a great CV

Now, I’m not a professional CV writer who will go through your background tooth and nail to pick out every skill and minor achievement and consolidate those into a perfectly drafted document, but I have over 20 years of recruitment experience so probably seen over 100,000 CVs, some good, some not so.

The role of a CV shouldn’t be taken lightly, it could be the difference between being invited for an interview or not so make sure its doing its job and telling your story the right way.

There is a stat I recall, I don’t know how accurate, that someone will spend 6 seconds looking at your CV before making a decision. I hope its wrong, but its good to have that in mind so you adapt it so the relevant information is easy to find.

  1. Keep It Concise – A CV should include the most important information about you and should be kept concise. Best practice is reverse chronological (i.e. most recent first), and assuming your relevant experience is the most recent, include more about this than that of your first job (if it was many years ago). Use bullet points.It doesn’t need to be kept to 2 pages, but anything over 4 and you are probably losing your reader.
  2. Highlight Your Achievements – Make sure to highlight your key achievements and successes which could help you stand out from other applicants. This is probably the most common omission I see on CVs, listing your duties will get you so far, but if you want to differentiate yourself from others this is a way to do it.
  3. If you have external links to your GitHub repo or portfolio then ensure these have decent content and arent a graveyard of your old work.
  4. Explain gaps. Rather than leaving the reader with questions, give them answers.
  5. Accuracy is important. Don’t exaggerate, check your dates and certainly don’t make stuff up. I would even go so far as to remove old tech skills that you only worked on for one semester or over 10 years ago for one project. Be prepared to answer questions about anything on your CV and if you aren’t confident with it, leave it out, or make it very clear it’s minor knowledge (see point 1 – be concise).
  6. If you are including a summary or profile then make it useful, not just a load of meaningless fluff.
  7. Make sure your contact information is included, correct, and up to date. Sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised.
  8. Be aware of your language, I don’t mean foul language, with more and more automation being used think about the terms that you use and what keywords may get picked up by systems. Avoid using uncommon acronyms, or provide an explanation if you do.
  9. Lastly, and just as important. make sure you proofread it and ideally get someone else to proof it too.

What is the STAR interview method? Why should you know about it?

The star interview technique is a structured approach to interviewing that focuses on past performance and experiences. The technique is based on the idea that an individual’s past experiences can be used as indicators of their future performance. Pretty normal stuff, right!

Many interviewers will ask questions that require a STAR response without really knowing it and that’s why you need to know and be able to present your examples in this way for maximum impact and benefit. In fact most questions where you are required to give an example would benefit from a STAR response.

The STAR technique is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

Situation – explain the context of a situation you faced

Task – what was expected or required of you in that situation.

Action – what steps you took to address the situation.

Result – what was the outcome of their actions in the situation.

It is important that you understand when a question would benefit from a STAR response as by providing specific and detailed examples of how you have handled situations in the past, you are giving the interviewer greater reassurance of how you would deal with a similar situation in the future and in my experience, how someone presents their answer can make all the difference.  Not only that, but clear, succinct yet comprehensive answers demonstrate you understand how your roles or task fits into the wider objective and is generally a sign of good communication which features as a must in most job specs.

How does this look in reality. So, a simple example answer for a star interview technique type question could be:

I was working on a project with a tight deadline (situation) and my role was to ensure that the project met the deadline and all deliverables were completed (task).

I assigned tasks to each team member and set up regular check-ins to track progress. I also worked with the team to troubleshoot any issues that arose (action) and we successfully completed the project on time, and all deliverables were met (result).

This is a basic example, and you would certainly want to be more detailed than this, but you can see how it would flow in an interview.

Get the Most Out of Your Interviews: Move Beyond Asking the ‘Biggest Weakness’ Question

Have you ever asked this question or a variation of it? What did you learn from it? That someone has prepared for their interview in advance by coming up with an answer that could equally be considered a positive or negative.

If you have asked this question, I’m sure you have heard something along the lines of “I work too hard”, “I strive to find the perfect solution and put myself under greater pressure than is necessary” or “I can be overly critical of my own work”.

Continue reading “Get the Most Out of Your Interviews: Move Beyond Asking the ‘Biggest Weakness’ Question”

What are the top things that candidates do that turn off hiring managers? (that are easily preventable).

Interviewing can be tiresome for both parties, but a little effort goes a long way and I would strongly recommend allocating time for prep prior to each interview no matter how many interviews you have done.

Continue reading “What are the top things that candidates do that turn off hiring managers? (that are easily preventable).”