Virtual Working – what have we learned about managing performance?

The last 12 months have brought so much change, its hard to remember that there was a time working from home was a privilege for a few office workers.  Managers are having to manage performance virtually, and for many that is a new experience.

What did we learn this year, and how can that help us shape a successful, high performing future as virtual, digital and face to face working worlds are transforming at a pace we have never seen before.

First the good news – the early evidence is

  • People put the hours in, despite huge challenges in their home lives
  • Tasks get done
  • Colleagues talk to each other
  • Results are delivered


The challenges are mostly focused on the mid to longer term success…

  • Productivity is patchy
  • Work cultures are dissipating as new employees face huge barriers to engagement when online is the only way to meet colleagues
  • Creativity is getting harder and harder
  • Stress and burnout are escalating
  • Thinking about the longer term has been side-lined in favour ‘just get stuff done’

How we manage performance at this time is vital.

How we establish priorities, maximise opportunities for productivity improvement, keep creativity going, enable rich and reflective learning (not just another elearning quick fix) – these are what will help us transform how we work in future.

Experience from organisations that have faced crises show us that to thrive, not just survive, we need to learn from the sudden switch to virtual working, refocus our people on the purpose of their work, make meaning out of what has happened through shared feedback and reflection, and give managers the confidence to set priorities and take decisions even in whirling change.

So to support your leaders, managers and colleagues over the year we recommend a short workshop for teams, so they can learn from their experiences, good and otherwise.

  1. Take some time to ‘step back’ and reflect on the last 12 months with your colleagues
  2. Just for this one session, don’t focus on deliverables, or targets or KPIs, think about the story of the last year – was it a roller-coaster or a near death experience, a story of triumph against all the odds, or a tale of survival to fight another day?
  3. What story will you be telling this time next year?


If you’d like a sample workshop outline for this session – contact us

Only when you have a narrative for next year, can you delve into what that means in practice, and develop your implementation strategies.