ASAE Annual Meeting

Alone with Each Other – A Consequence of Remote Work

By Association Adviser staff • August 16, 2021

Our culture emphasizes that organizations that succeed excel at building their brand, increasing their customer base (or for associations, their member base), and growing their revenue and financial stability. But Ryan MacTaggart of EDUCAUSE said that truly successful leaders also look at improving their relationships and the well-being of their staff – particularly in our current remote work environment.

Studies have shown that leaders who foster connections between people and cultivate a workplace where staff are engaged and feel supported see the payoff in better business outcomes. It harkens the phrase made famous in a speech by President John F. Kennedy: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Much of the workforce shifted to full-time or part-time remote work in the past year at a time when powerful forces intersected: a global pandemic, social unrest, political polarization, and disruption in day-to-day routines. All of this has led to personal identity crises, strains on personal and professional relationships, and an increase in loneliness – enemies to the remote work experience.

That’s not to say that remote work is all bad for organizations. Remote work can reduce organizational costs and increase diversity in hiring, and it means less commuting stress and increased happiness and work-life balance for staff.

In his Express Talk at the ASAE 2021 Annual Meeting, MacTaggart shared these six ways that leaders can take intentional action to support staff and increase workplace well-being in a remote culture.

  1. Meetings are not default ways to build connections.
  2. Normalize informal use of formal connections.
  3. Productivity is not an “at all costs” endeavor.
  4. Encourage connection outside work.
  5. Make visible the invisible remote work culture.
  6. Don’t ask for constant fragmented attention throughout the work day.