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Don't Do a Remote Offsite

Being experienced (or old) provides one big benefit: I've seen trends and things that work and don't work. Unfortunately, I also see that we don't learn the lessons of these things very well.

I've been seeing more and more instances where remote or hybrid teams are trying to re-create the physical office. The most recent example is the "offsite meeting". Some companies and managers are trying to have offsite meetings with their remote team, using remote technology.

Don't Do It.

Think of not only what the offsite meeting was designed to do, but why it worked. The intention of the offsite meeting is to be able to focus the group on a specific topic or objective with no distractions and away from their normal environment. It gave the added benefit to do some team building and have some fun. In short, do deep work and build relationships.

Trying to use remote tools to do an "offsite" will fail on both accounts. First, logging into a different Zoom account is not the same as being in a physically different location. Being away from the office was a way to avoid distractions (like email or phone) and had the extra benefit of opening creativity. Different settings can make us think differently.

Second, you can try some team building events, but they become much more difficult. The events have to be designed and structured for the remote environment, which means it will be a bit more complex. The benefits will not be as great either.

I haven't attended one, and maybe they are great, but I am skeptical. I imagine people who are at the computer, but multitasking by checking email, dealing with calls, etc. They will see it as another meeting, because it has none of the impacts of the offsite.

I appreciate the intent of it - deep work, relationship building, and having some fun. But realistically, you will struggle to meet any of those objectives. If you want an offsite, get everyone together physically.

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