Does decision making take longer in a remote or hybrid working environment?

1.6k views25 Upvotes109 Comments

Director of IT in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We’re remote and decision making is prolonged, as is the number of meetings it takes to resolve something. It's almost like people just accept that they can always put another meeting on the calendar if they can't get to a decision. To drive closure on some things I’ve started to begin meetings by saying, “We're exiting this meeting with a decision and we have 30 minutes,” because nobody's coming in with the mindset of trying to get to an outcome. They're just seeing it as another conversation that they're having in their day. I've realized I need to start setting those specific objectives because otherwise nothing gets accomplished. There doesn't seem to be a value tied to the time that you're spending in those conversations and the actual output as a result of that. It's almost like there’s this false assumption that we have an infinite runway of meetings and that's become frustrating.
2 1 Reply
CIO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees

I now put such high value on meeting in person. It's like a perishable product: We have to do it because I don't know the next time we're going to be able to. Or maybe it’s just because it's Thursday and we're not going to see each other again until Tuesday. But if we meet over Zoom, it feels infinite, like we can just meet again tomorrow and the next day. Whereas when you get folks to all meet in person, it creates a sense of urgency to get through whatever you need to accomplish.

CIO in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We recently went through a process of looking at all the prioritization meetings that we have. Over the last couple years, we've added more and more because we can't make those quick hallway decisions sometimes. Now we're consciously pulling some of those off the calendar to consolidate them. We realized there were too many meetings to get to a conclusion and we could do that a lot more efficiently.
1 2 Replies
CIO in Finance (non-banking), 51 - 200 employees

In a virtual meeting, everyone’s taking their turn to speak, but when you’re in the room together, you have side bars, you’re talking on top of each other, and then 25 minutes later you reach a decision. When it’s a virtual meeting, you think, “I have 30 minutes free on Wednesday for lunch, but I don't really need to eat, so we could just meet then.” And with all these people attending, it becomes a very expensive meeting. In an in-person meeting, if two people who are having a side conversation happen to figure out the solution, they can pursue that while the rest of the group works on whatever they need to do. In a virtual meeting, those two people could go into a break-out room or chat via direct message in theory, but it's just not the same.

Director of IT in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

The way you interrupt in Zoom conversations seems so much more rude than it is because you’re talking louder than the other person so your box lights up, which lets them know that you're trying to speak. It's very aggressive. I often wonder if people think I'm way more aggressive than I actually am as a result of the way I interject in meetings.

Director of IT in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Yes. Having to consider a multitude of working environments, communication needs, coordination of collaboration, all take more time to process & execute.
Director of IT in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Yes. The logistics of bringing teams together, can bet more involved.  Sometimes maintaining focus of all members, for extended periods of time is more difficult
CTO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
It depends on the ongoing work and works culture. If you realized you have a self-organized team and take ownership of the work as a team, you could make it easier. 

During the first covid lockdown, we took a decision within a week to move 100% of our software development team to work from home. We have to make sure the connectivity and facility of each employee who works from home. It almost 2 years since we are working from home without any issues. 
Director of IT in Transportation, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
When the team is remote the decision taking usually takes longes as you need to have multiple calls/meetings. The advantage of in office work is face to face meetings and having an easier collaboration and ideas sharing
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Time taken to make a decision depends on the level of decision to be made and in remote working it definitely extends by at least 50%. My experience over the last 2+ years is:

1. Executive decisions (Board, Management teams) have had moderate impact. The maturity of the individuals and their collective consciousness works well with the timeline to take a decision. It is a rare case when a decision gets prolonged. 

2. Decisions within mid-level teams are getting pushed with a difficulty to reach consensus (if decision making requires agreement) as in reality everyone is not 100% present in the meeting virtually; most multi-task and defer when there is a perceived risk.

3. At the ground level, have not seen any significant impact as the decision tree is simple, typically supervisor or team lead will drive the conclusion.

Solutions Architect in Software, 51 - 200 employees
Yes - absolutely. Getting the right people together is a challenge - even though Virtual meetings can make it easier - the human interaction part of decision making has been lost.
CIO in Services (non-Government), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
It used to take longer until we set a limit on the number of meetings until final resolution.

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