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Leading at a Distance

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Leading at a Distance

Practical Lessons for Virtual Success


15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Follow these strategies for organizational success in the world of virtual work.

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The white-collar world changed profoundly in the spring of 2020, and it remains unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic normal. In this overview of the new reality, consultants James M. Citrin and Darleen DeRosa tell you how to prosper amid these changes. Zoom meetings, virtual pizza parties and remote yoga classes are here to stay, they write. Building relationships and instilling motivation are more difficult at a distance, but leaders must figure out how to bridge the gap. 


In 2020, virtual work shifted from being an oddity to being the new normal.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies were growing more open to flexible working arrangements. In fields with a shortage of talent – and especially a shortage of diverse talent – remote work lets employers expand their field of applicants. By using Zoom, Teams and other tech tools, organizations can tap into expertise across the globe, rather than only in their local markets. And work-from-home arrangements allow companies to spend less on office space.

The pandemic forced many employers to embrace virtual work environments. What will happen next is unclear. Some 10% to 20% of workers never want to return to the office, but another cohort of about the same size is eager to get back. The rest are ready for a hybrid approach.

The transition to virtual work hasn’t been entirely smooth. Many feel burned out by constant hours of online meetings. With work and home suddenly being the same place, workers find it difficult to separate their jobs from their personal lives. Many workers toil longer hours than ever. One study found that American workers put in millions of ...

About the Authors

James M. Citrin leads the North American practice of Spencer Stuart, where Darleen DeRosa is a consultant.

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