Agile Mentors Podcast

Agile Mentors Podcast

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The Agile Mentors podcast is for agilists of all levels. Whether you’re new to agile and Scrum or have years of experience, listen in to find answers to your questions and new ways to succeed with agile.

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#61: The Complex Factors in The Office Vs. Remote Debate with Scott Dunn

August 16, 2023     34 minutes

In this episode of Agile Mentors Podcast, Brian, and Scott Dunn delve into the biggest question challenging teams right now: Should they return to the office or continue to embrace remote work? Join us as we navigate the complex factors in the office vs. remote debate.


Across industries, the call to return to the office is gaining momentum among management circles. In this episode of the Agile Mentors Podcast, Brian sits down with Scott Dunn, to unravel the layers of the working in the office versus remote settings debate.

Listen in as they discuss various perspectives and considerations such as productivity, work-life balance, leadership styles, personality types, and even economic factors that influence the decision to have your team in the office or at home and what truly defines an effective workspace.

Tune in as Scott and Brian share valuable insights into the ongoing debate that's reshaping the modern work landscape

Listen Now to Discover:

[01:31] - Brian welcomes guest Scott Dunn to the show to discuss their feelings toward management saying it’s time to return to the office post-Covid.
[02:48] - Everyone’s affected in one way or another by the return to the office vs the prevailing “squishy” remote work policy.
[04:01] - Where are you really the most productive?
[04:16] - The basic needs of a generation: why “fully remote” is so appealing to Gen Z.
[05:55] - Words straight from the Agile manifesto that supports in-person work and face-to-face communication.
[06:44] - Quantifying what’s been lost from being face-to-face to being fully remote.
[07:13] - How open working sessions and working side by side but independently boosts productivity.
[07:41] - The tools that elevate remote collaboration and help facilitate small group dynamics when working remotely.
[09:31] - Remote work and the allure of opening the talent pool combined with less turnover is a game-changer.
[10:26] - How to run a focused remote work trial to assess applicants and gather insights.
[10:58] - It's about more than just the comfort or preference of the leadership team.
[11:23] - The most critical factor in determining if you have a hiring problem.
[12:03] - How to deal with the issue of unequal contribution and improve team dynamics.
[12:39] - Why managers have concerns about remote and how to alleviate them.
[13:27] - How to enhance team accountability and empower team members by implementing measurable tracking to ensure everyone's pulling their weight.
[14:48] - Drive positive change by experimenting and then taking action.
[19:41] - The Agile Mentors Podcast is proudly sponsored by Mountain Goat Software with a range of training options, from Scrum certifications to skill enhancement, visit
[15:25] - How to balance support for employees with managerial accountability.
[16:00] -The correlation between happy employees and productivity. Simon Sinek's insights highlight the connection between employee happiness and success.
[17:07] - The vital (and challenging) responsibility of leaders to not only guide teams but define the expectations of the company culture.
[19:00] - Open dialog and constructive conflict: Patrick Lencioni’s approach to vulnerable leadership for trust and psychological safety.
[19:35] - How to spark healthy conflict and promote results.
[20:00] - The importance of acknowledging personality differences, diverse working styles, and ideal working conditions.
[20:37] - How to encourage open dialogue to address concerns and foster employee ownership.
[21:14] - Leading the conversations about remote work to the right approach.
[21:40] - Embracing personal user manuals for improved teamwork.
[22:14] - How to embrace a balanced approach that values different work styles.
[23:35] - How introverted and extroverted differences can impact experiences: How constructive feedback promotes awareness and inclusive adjustments.
[26:16] - Why remote work decisions should be rooted in culture and individual fit rather than an across-the-board, fixed policy.
[27:09] - How a hybrid approach accommodates diverse work styles.
[27:29] - Remote teams, as shown by a Harvard Business Review study, can be more productive, especially when employees overwork to prove their worth from home.
[28:11] - How to help employees align with teams that suit their work styles.
[28:45] - Consider implementing a system where teams choose to be fully remote or not, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of factors like productivity, team happiness, and innovation.
[29:02] - How to help fully remote teams take ownership of their success.
[29:32] - Weighing all the factors in the remote vs. in-person debate is essential, for aligning goals, ensuring meaningful decision-making, and opening the door to change.
[30:33] - How the critically important remote work decision will impact future Scrum teams', economic considerations, and overall work-life balance.
[31:10] - We don’t claim to have definitive answers but hope you enjoyed our conversation on navigating complex workplace challenges.
[32:09] - Your feedback is valuable. We'd love your thoughts about today's show or any suggestions for future topics for the show. Email us by clicking here.
[33:24] - We'd love to see you in one of Mountain Goat Software's classes, you can find the schedule here. If you enjoyed the episode, share it with others and subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

References and resources mentioned in the show:

Start With Why by Simon Sinek
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Join the Agile Mentors Community
Mountain Goat Software Certified Scrum and Agile Training Schedule
Subscribe to the Agile Mentors Podcast on Apple Podcasts

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This episode’s presenters are:

Brian Milner is the SVP of coaching and training at Mountain Goat Software. He's passionate about making a difference in people's day-to-day work, influenced by his own experience of transitioning to Scrum and seeing improvements in work/life balance, honesty, respect, and the quality of work.

Scott Dunn is a Certified Enterprise Coach and Scrum Trainer with over 20 years of experience coaching and training companies like NASA, EMC/Dell Technologies, Yahoo!, Technicolor, and eBay to transition to an agile approach using Scrum.