Coronavirus: Working Remotely as a Proactive Crisis Management and Business Continuity Response

Written by Ash Richardson

20 years digital tech and strategy experience, including co-founding #team, Accenture, MP of Oyster Partners (now DigitasLBi) and ex-VC investing in technology startups. Unique skills on product strategy, design and offshoring.

working remotely: the basics

Employees need these five basics to work remotely:

  1. Reliable fast internet and electricity
  2. Workspace and devices
  3. Email and shared docs
  4. Social and work collaboration tools
  5. Mutual trust, positivity, recognition and commitment

working remotely: key to succeeding

To make working remotely both effective and sustainable, employees need one more critical thing that most of us in leadership roles take for granted:


#stratapp makes it easy for business owners, CEOs, executives, managers and team leaders to deliver context – seamlessly connecting strategy/vision/plans with day to day work/engagement/collaboration. Context is the key to making remote working effective and sustainable.

strategic context

  • Why does my organization exist? [a la Simon Sinek]
  • What is our winning aspiration? [a la Professor Roger Martin]
    • Where to play?
    • How to win?
    • What capabilities do we need?
    • What management systems do we need?
  • What is our plan to get there?
    • Goals -> Sub-Goals-> Actions -> Sub-Actions

note: each of these strategic contexts are easy features inside #stratapp

day-to-day context

  • Who is working on what right now?
  • How is my team going?
  • What should I work on next to have the greatest impact?
  • How are each of these digital items connected?
    • This meeting
    • The task this meeting relates to
    • The workboard that task sits on
    • The strategic objective that workboard belongs to
    • The strategic goal above that objective
    • The overall why and direction that strategic goal is pointing at

note: each of these day to day contexts are powered by #stratapp, as an intuitive org-wide experience

working remotely: social-with-structure

#stratapp wasn’t the first SaaS company to think of this, but we are the first to bring it to market. Why? Adding structure to social collaboration saves everybody an enormous amount of time. Not only for your recipients, but also for you when coming back to check what you have asked, assigned or provided to others.

#stratapp allows you to tag your social posts as one of ten categories:

example #1

I’ve been away for 72 hours. What strategy related questions have been asked, and what decisions or approvals have been made, whilst I was away? Great, now let’s narrow that down further to only the strategy aspects I own or am directly involved in.

example #2

For the risks, ideas and challenges I currently own, what is the status of tasks I have assigned to others?

example #3

Who is having the most influence on strategy or KPI related work? Who are the emerging team players on KPIs? Who are the emerging innovators on strategy?

To learn more about the power of social with structure, you can read Atlassian thought of it, #stratapp’s done it.

working remotely: opportunity to scale

The strategic opportunity is to achieve scale through offshoring, rather than replacing your onshore talent. If you have #stratapp and effective remote working up and running, you can easily create the capability to scale, both up and down, through a hybrid approach to offshoring.

fast track the development of your best talent

I use hybrid offshoring to accelerate the professional development of our best people. It is usually not cost, time or risk feasible to build up an onshore team of 5 employees under a 25 year old. However, the combination of #stratapp and a hybrid approach to offshoring opens up new possibilities. Rather than have the onshore 25 year olds working 120% of the week, I coach them to split their time to:

  • 50% producing
  • 20% improving how work gets done
  • 30% managing a team of 5 people offshore

Assuming the 5x offshore team members are each effective to a net 75% (adjusting for location, learning, development, admin and internal events) we have now increased the overall capacity of each 25 year old to 425%. Pause for a moment, think about that. I then ask them to dial back to 100%, rather than work 120%, so they can invest more personal time into fitness, recreation, learning, loved ones and family. As a result, our 25 year olds are now on a fast track to professional development, rapidly learning new skills on managing people, x-border cultural differences and how to work on the business not just in it. That’s an incredible learning opportunity at such a young age. If you multiply this effect across fifty 25 year olds in your company, you create an enormous capability to scale, both up and down. In one relatively easy strategic move you increase morale, profits and resilience, whilst de-risking the overall business.

the next evolution

Several years ago I started experimenting with this hybrid approach to offshoring. I didn’t foresee it back then, but now we find ourselves at the next evolution: thinking about how to scale up and give early career development experience to our best people based offshore. That is, we are now exploring which countries to add new team members to work for our emerging offshore talent. As my mate Rob says: “Ash, you’re offshoring the offshoring!” You may like to read a subtle shift in offshoring, that actually works and the excellent book by Scott Linden-Jones referenced therein.

about #stratapp

#stratapp is the world’s first SaaS to solve strategy execution as an every-employee org-wide experience. Quick reads: world’s best strategy execution app what’s really going on in my company? why we lump our CFOs with risk management radical transparency suits all generations, not only millennials

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