Hybrid Working: Perfect for Product Managers?
Why pure remote or pure office-based might not work in a product career
There has been quite a discussion recently following the announcements from a number of large employers to more office-centric roles (Lloyds Bank, JP Morgan, BNY Mellon etc…) and it resurrected my thinking about what type of approach suits product management roles?
As well as writing, I’m also a product manager within a retail company, and our current weekly working pattern is that we work two days in the office and three days remotely.
Personally, I find this the best of both worlds and here’s why:
Working in the office
- I can make small talk with the team members who sit around me. We have flexible desks and so one day I’ll be sitting next to the Software Development Manager and the next time I’m in it could be a Product Owner. As everyone is working on different things, in different ways, this is a great way to get an insight into what’s really going on.
- I can get in a room with some of my product users. We’ve got a range of products that cover externally facing audiences, internal audiences, and some technical products that run behind the scenes, and for internal products, I’m able to walk across the office and speak to the Head of Finance or drop in to the first floor and discuss with the sales team what’s going on and what challenges they are facing.
- I can feel part of the organisation. We’ve got many teams who are 100% office-based due to the nature of their roles, and being around them really allows you to connect with the other activities that are happening, even when you’re safely tucked away in your home office.
- It provides impromptu opportunities to socialise. Whether it’s “Do you want to walk to the sandwich shop and grab something to eat?”, “Do you need some ‘fresh air’” (which is code for vaping!), or “Shall we have lunch at the local pub?” being around others provides you with chances to walk, talk, and get to know each other which simply can’t be replicated via a Zoom call.
- I can find time to think. Although chatting to colleagues in the office…