Does any work still need to happen in person?

October 5, 2020
By Rowan Belchers

Remote meetings are now commonplace and have been a significant improvement in our work experience. I love working from home, many others do too, and it’ll likely be the norm going forward.

With our increasing ability to be in physical proximity with each other, we should start to think about which work engagements should revert to happening in person.

When people ask me what remote work doesn’t allow, my answer is this: ‘deep work’.

Deep work is essential and differs from a ‘meeting’:

  • The process is non-linear and might meander.
  • The outcome is non-obvious.
  • The required time is unknown upfront.
  • Human connection is needed (as opposed to just the presence of humans)

To be fair, I used to think that most engagements required the above. Lockdown has changed my view. With the right conditions created, you can hold most conversations online.

But not all.

The question for you, the CEO, is:  ‘Which deep conversations require us being together?’ 

Some examples are:

  • Strategy discussions/debates that require time, space and contemplation.
  • Sensing into the condition of your culture after the year that has passed and what traumas may need conversation.
  • Exiting staff, especially senior/executive staff.
  • Exco gatherings that unpack the ‘state’ of your senior team and the current quality of cohesion across the group.

These conversations require a dimension and quality that being online doesn’t offer. They need CEOs to convene and curate them differently.

There are almost certainly 2 or 3 such conversations that are either underway or are in the planning stages. Make sure you give them the treatment they deserve to get the outcome you seek.

Rowan Belchers

Rowan Belchers

Rowan is the founder and CEO of Lockstep, a business leadership consultancy. Lockstep works with CEO’s, executive teams and future leaders globally, partnering with clients who seek customised leadership solutions. Rowan is a highly respected advisor to CEOs with over two decades’ experience in guiding businesses and their leaders towards reaching their fullest potential. Rowan leads The CEO Project, a Lockstep initiative.
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