Poor visibility is a liability when working remotely

Poor visibility is a liability

When teams are working remotely, you miss out on a lot of spontaneous conversations and interactions that happen when you are in the office. 


This post is part of the remote work mental models series. You can read the previous post about the importance of creating communication pumps.


Working in an office is an immersive environment for your senses: the sounds of the busy hum of people bustling about, office banter, the smell of a burned pot of coffee. You are constantly observing and interacting with coworkers, picking up on little nuances and ways the team or the company operates. 

And if you work in an office as a really great leader, you schedule in-person check-in’s and update your team directly on what’s happening in the company. 

All of this information sharing (like weekly updates) goes both ways. And in theory, it helps you and your team do better work. Through the power of observation, you can course correct, avoid potential problems, learn more about your team members and more.

Remote lacks the richness of the office, what are you going to do about it?

When you go remote, you miss out on a lot of the data you were passively collecting in an office environment. As a result, you might feel disconnected and out of touch with what people are working on, how people like to work, and more. This can hurt team morale.

From a team leader or executive perspective, this can also harm your ability to make good decisions.

As Andy Grove said in his book, High Output Management:

“Information-gathering is the basis of all other managerial work, which is why I choose to spend so much of my day doing it.”

Very simply put, if you don’t share information evenly and regularly across the organization, you risk employees making impactful decisions without the necessary bedrock of information.

As the company leader, it’s your responsibility that this information is shared to uplevel the quality of decision-making. Poor visibility is a liability.

What should you share?

There's a variety of things you can do to improve visibility and awareness at work. Here's a few ideas of things you can share on a regular basis:

  • Routine company updates on a weekly basis
  • High-level decisions that have recently been made
  • Important company updates that might affect how employees should prioritize work
  • Staffing updates when new employees are hired
  • Acknowledging upcoming projects and projects that have been wrapped up
  • The occasional fun update too like an employee’s anniversary, kudos, or big milestone to keep everyone informed about the people they work with

If you'd like to continue, check out the next post in the series - communication pipes come in different types.