Can Remote Management Organizations Succeed?

Can companies with remote workers innovate and grow? Business leaders are divided on this issue. James Heskett considers both points of view.

Although much has been written about remote work in recent months, we know very little about the impact of remote management on performance. It may be too early. We can’t be sure of the impact until we can assess the long-term performance of remote work and remote management.

However, executives must make decisions about assembling an executive team in an office without sufficient evidence. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Greg D. Carmichael, CEO and chairman of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp, is one of them. Calling all of Fifth Third’s employees into the office, he said, undefined When you have a great culture and great people who work and work together, you want them to work together in the office.


I suspect Matt Mullenweg, founder of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, which powers about a third of all websites, would disagree. Your company had around 1,200 employees working asynchronously last year (i.e.(not at the same time, daily job change from one employee to another) in 75 countries without headquarters. Among other things, the strategy calls for remote managers to meet four weeks a year to host team building events and support the latest and greatest communication technologies.

The question arises as to how large an organization can grow when effectively managed remotely. But Sid Sijbrandij, CEO of GitLab, a developer and provider of open source software, believes that “full remote control is still evolving than the traditional model.. The benefits of full remote control: write down your processes, encourage informal communication between companies, and become more visible at scale.

Carmichael’s comment raises questions about gender boundaries. What is the limit of your decision to return management to headquarters? Is this limited to companies and organizations that value collaboration more than small organizations?

“What can we ask to extend this remote management disclaimer? Is it specific to an organization?”

With a larger workforce, would it make sense to have fewer commitments (childcare, etc.) away from the office? It recognizes the social need of many (but not all) to connect directly with the people we work with. One wonders how far this denial of remote management will go. Is it idiosyncratic for an organization? Do all banks work according to a common format? Do all companies primarily rely on collaborative work? Is there a company with a great culture? Or does that apply to all companies?

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