3 Lessons Learned – World’s Biggest Pilot in Remote Work


COVID-19 is by every mean, a crisis of gigantic portions. It permeates every part of our lives. It affects every part of our personal well-being. And in the midst of this pandemic, we have been forced into new ways of working. Companies turned from an office-centric work model to a work-from-home model overnight. Or as Caroline Schein, VP of People at Article, aptly described it to me – we got the opportunity to take on “the world’s biggest pilot in remote work”.

Now more than two months into this pilot, what can we conclude?

One thing we know for certain is that remote work is not temporary. This pilot has shown many companies that remote work is a productive, engaging and sustainable way for them to operate. Companies across industries, like Article, Silver Hills Bakery, Bank of Montreal, Shopify and G&F Financial are already anticipating and planning for remote work to be a permanent aspect of how they work.

So now is the time to ask the second question – what have we learned in this pilot so far that we can apply in the re-opening phase and beyond?

Talking with HR leaders and CEOs from companies across various industries and drawing from insights we are seeing, I’ve distilled three ‘lessons learned’ that I hope will be helpful to you as you plan for and move forward with the re-opening phase of your business and beyond.

Lesson No. 1 – Focusing On The “Whole” Person

Remote work in the era of COVID-19 has reminded us that the line between work and personal life is really rather thin. Zoom meetings have given us a glimpse into each other’s “other” life. Kids and pets pop into video meetings unannounced. And the abrupt, unplanned, and uncertain nature of the pandemic has employees constantly dealing with the collision of multiple realities of their life. 

The benefit of this is that now we’re seeing more of the “whole” person. We see more of what their home life is like, not as photo on their desk, but in real-time, during everyday interactions. For Caroline, it is a reminder that as they start to re-open their offices at Article, a direct-to-consumer online furniture retailer with headquarters in Vancouver, they need to consider what is best for the “whole” Particle (aka people at Article). What is their home environment like? Do they feel isolated working from home? How can we help them be their best self no matter where they work?

For Diane Sullivan, Chief People & Culture Officer at G&F Financial Group, a BC-based credit union, this means adapting everyday interactions to individual needs. Flexibility is key. That may mean adapting work hours or meeting times to what works best for parents with kids being home-schooled.

Lesson No. 2 – Pushing Through The “Regression” Phase


Jane Chung is the CEO of Perked! (www.perked.co) where they make it easy to continuously listen to your employees’ feedback and ideas and gain data-driven insights to build an agile, adaptable, and resilient organization. She is one part entrepreneur, two parts adventurer, and three parts cookie monster.

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