Revisit offshoring lessons for a glimpse of effective post lockdown working

Picture of Phil Stewart

Phil Stewart


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to provide a work from home option for their employees. After years of analysing how this might work, how staff will have to adapt and testing remote working technology, the option was enforced overnight in March 2020. Technically it has been proven possible, however there is now a new debate: what happens when lockdown is lifted?

Throughout the pandemic, arguments have raged over whether or not working from home can compete with 9-to-5 in the office… 

The novelty, the tedium, the lack of contact, too much contact (video calls), the ability to focus, recouping the travel time and the work / life balance have all been discussed at length.

It’s clear that differing personalities, role types, family setup, home locations and facilities are the factors driving people’s intent on proving they are right (without really considering solutions or providing critical insight on the subject). 

Almost always, the answer comes back “a hybrid model is the way to go”. But does hybrid really work? Have we thought through the consequences, both intended and non-intended?

Let’s take a few examples of where this might fall down…

  1. Differing working hours – some prefer mornings, some evenings, some want to model around school hours, others want the hours compressed
  2. Differing days on-site – some prefer Mon-Wed, some mid-week, some want total flexibility
  3. Differing working practices – some would prefer all meetings be face-to-face so that homeworking becomes about alone time to get things done, others can’t possibly fathom how to occupy whole days without feedback and interaction

Say you’re a manager of a large team, are you supposed to support all possible permutations? If so you can plan on being in the office from 4am to midnight, 7 days a week and look forward to receiving compensation demands for those who have to commute, and equipment demands for those that don’t.

We believe there are some obvious truths that will emerge:

  • Not everyone will be able to incorporate home working into their lives in a way that perfectly suits them
  • Both employees and employers will have to compromise
  • Firms that get the balance right and offer clarity will have the most motivated and energised workforces

The challenge is substantial but so are the rewards. So how do you ensure success?  

We believe the answer lies in defining new operating models that are precisely designed for your organisation, that can exploit the positives of hybrid working whilst minimising possible downsides.

What might these operating models look like? Where better to start than by examining established, successful remote working practices learned from many years of getting offshoring both right and wrong.

In the early days of offshoring and global working, we, or rather “I”, made the mistake of looking at a local workforce and trying to determine which jobs could be done remotely. We talked about teams that could move and made some ridiculous assertions such as “well Jill’s team can move because they never come out of their office anyway”.  

As we developed our understanding of what worked and what didn’t, we started to think at a more granular level, and learned to do the following:

  • Look at activities and tasks, not people and roles
  • Examine co-dependencies intra-department, instead of inter-department
  • Determine what activities and tasks have time critical elements
  • Identify which tasks could be handed over from one team to the next, as one day ended and a new one dawned
  • Design tooling strategies and infrastructure to support the distributed teams
  • Consider processes, governance, supply chain, supporting functions as well as IT
  • Test rigorously through DR and BCP scenarios
  • Ensure it met regulatory and security standards

We advocate taking this same rigorous approach for designing your next operating model, even if you’re entirely UK based. We also believe Finyx offer the unique blend of insight, experience and execution capabilities to help you design and implement it; along with the tools, templates and methods to accelerate and measure progress.

If you’re interested in finding out more please get in with