As a Management Consultant and OKRs Coach for the past 20 years with clients around the world, I can tell you that I was very skeptical about making a pivot to remote work in early 2020. There is, (or shall I say there was), an ethos in the consulting space that you had to be physically present in order to deliver value to a client. The pandemic changed that ethos in radical fashion, much to my surprise and, frankly, to the benefit of both me and my clients.
How so? Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits to remote coaching…
1) Price. On-site work requires travel, ground transportation, meals, lodging, entertainment and more. In a remote setting, these costs, which are normally passed on to the client, are largely (if not completely) eliminated, resulting in significant savings to the client, not to mention significant stress reduction for the consultant. A typical client engagement could easily run $2000-$3000 in just expenses alone. In a remote setting, these costs don’t exist.
2) Time. A trip to Bangalore for a single client takes almost two days just to get there, another day to recover from jet lag, a few days on site, two more days to get home, and one more to rebalance your clock. That’s nine days for a single client. Think about how many different clients I can work with over 9 days in a remote setting…
Today, I easily work with multiple clients in a single day, delivering remote OKRs coaching to each. In a travel scenario, each of those multiple clients would be queued up, waiting for their time on my calendar. I am vastly more efficient in a remote setting, and I can manage my calendar in a way that allows me to work with several more clients than I could have possibly managed if they were all on-site work. Clients don’t have to wait on me…and I don’t have to wait on planes!
3) Value. Without question, I am the best version of myself in a remote setting. I am not stressed out from the harried drama of travel and all the headaches that seem to be attendant to the road warrior life. Since I am more relaxed, I can be more aware and present, ever attentive to the nuances of a challenging facilitation.
When I was on the road, there was always an undercurrent of stress – concerns about travel itineraries, flight delays, impatient clients/prospects, entertainment demands when all I want to do is go to sleep, etc.. Those stressors are virtually eliminated in the remote setting, allowing me to fully invest all my energies into the client engagement.
4) Pace. In the traveling world, I used to literally carpet bomb my clients with training, information and facilitations. Since I had to deliver the biggest ‘bang for the buck’ while I was on-site, I was forced to stack meetings and facilitations to the point of bewildering and confusing the client. It was not uncommon for me to leave the client in a dust of information overload, as I hurried to jump on a plane to my next engagement.
In the remote setting, I can pace out the work with a client in such a way that they have time to digest the material, discuss it with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers, and return with fresh ideas. The tempo of the work is in balance with their available time, energy and capacity, delivering greater value over the long run to the client.
I could go on about the benefits of remote work, but you get the idea. While I will continue to miss the handshakes, hugs, and happy hours that come with on-site work, I much prefer being close to my wife, my dog and my golf clubs.
The world is changing, and we need to change with it. Perspective is everything.