I recently read an insightful blog post by Sean Graber on HBR.org about why remote work is successful at some companies and not others. He lists three C’s for success: Communication, Collaboration, and Culture. Check it out here:
The main take-away for me was that technology was not enough to ensure success. You need process too. Many companies spend lots of budget on technology and tools, but if the workers don’t embrace them and utilize them, it’s just money down the drain.
My team has experienced this with a few file sharing / collaboration tools, which I won’t name. After all, the main reason for failure was not the tools themselves, but our lack of a strong culture to collaborate. Getting them to share documents is like pulling teeth.
The same could be said for video chat. We use the phone call and IM features all day long, but rarely does anyone turn on the video.
Bottom line: technology won’t make remote work successful by itself.