Do you remember when the business world was collectively scrambling to abruptly transition from brick-and-mortar work models to the largely unknown and often bewildering territory of remote working? And there was a panicked scramble to answer ever-evolving questions, like “How should we handle virtual meetings?” and “How can we help employees adjust?” I do. My Vida Aventura clients needed help, and we figured so much of it out together.
Since then, an increasing number of companies and organizations have created a new top-tier executive role: Chef Remote Officer. Have you heard of it? Organizations with more than100 people, in particular, are embracing the need for a head of remote. I’m definitely noticing an increase in leadership development and executive coaching clients who are exploring or implementing the idea. Which is why I wanted to provide some basic information about it, along with links to quick resources on the topic. Let me know what you think.
What Does A Chief Remote Officer Do?
In Stephanie Vozza’s The Rise of the Chief Remote Officer, the rapid shift we all experienced to remote working is put into perspective:
“The shift is the largest workplace transition since the Industrial Revolution,” said Liam Martin, author of Running Remote: Master the Lessons from the World’s Most Successful Remote-Work Pioneers (Harper Collins, 2022) and co-organizer of Running Remote, an annual conference about remote work.
“The Industrial Revolution took eight years, while moving to remote work was done in a month,” he said. “It involved a complete transition of everything that you could possibly think of.”
In short, the primary responsibilities of a Chief Remote Officer include facilitating and streamlining remote operations with the goal of driving success across the organization. The role supports the HR department, technical services, and operations.
Vozza spoke with Darren Murph, who became GitLab’s first head of remote in 2019 (the company was an early adopter). The San Francisco-based company’s entire workforce has worked remotely since its inception in 2011. “Designated facilitators or managers of remote have become essential to ensuring hybrid- and remote-work equity, steering teams through the shifting workplace norms, enlisting new tools where appropriate, and ensuring an overall healthy work culture,” said Murph. “Distributed work can unlock talent and productivity, but only with intentionality from business leaders.”
Are Chief Remote Officers Just A Fad?
That’s a good question. There have been numerous position titles over the years that have been created for specific times. As explained in a RealChange article entitled, Chief Remote Officer, The New Position for The New Hybrid Work Mode:
“Chief Digital Officer,” “Chief Happiness Officer,” “Chief Brexit Officer,” “Chief COVID Officer”… Many leaders can legitimately wonder whether Chief Remote Officers are part of a long-term trend or whether this is just a temporary role to support change driven by an external event. In fact, no matter how the COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves, skills developed by Chief Remote Officers will most certainly be part of the core competencies forward-thinking companies are looking for to manage human resources. The hybrid model offers many advantages and has taken hold. Organizations most likely to succeed in the future will be the ones that capitalized on best practices and lessons learned from this human and organizational transformation.
Find Out More
Whether or not your organization has over 100 employees, the deeper message about this topic is that our workforce has changed for good. Even if your teams are back and in-person, they will be communicating and connecting with businesses and people who are not. Successful leaders must be able to face challenges and turn them into opportunities.
Knowing how to onboard, nurture and foster growth in teams, employees and leaders in ever-shifting (and often exhausting) conditions and situations is key to business and leadership success. For more information about this topic, take a look at the quick links to Chief Remote Officer resources below.
And as always, Vida Aventura can help your teams and leaders through these and future changing times.
Chief Remote Officer Resources