UNLEASH 2019: ‘Give remote workers freedom and trust’

UNLEASH took place on 22 and 23 October in Paris. Image: UNLEASH

Employers looking to adopt a remote-first working environment must ensure staff are empowered to take ownership of their careers and “question the status quo”, delegates at a key global conference investigating the future of work.

Dorota Piotrowska, chief people officer at Polish software developer and consultancy Netguru, said giving employees the “freedom and trust to do what they do” is key to creating a truly agile, remote-first organisation.


The UNLEASH Conference & Expo took place at the Paris Convention Centre this week. The next UNLEASH event takes place at London’s ExCeL on 24-25 March, 2020.

Previous UNLEASH 2019 articles:
• Continuous learning and collaboration must be HR’s focus
• Digital transformation is not about automation

More than 30% of its workers operate remotely all the time and a further 30% work remotely at least half the time, only coming into the office occasionally.

“We need to make people feel safe to modify, to iterate, to make mistakes. It’s a blame-free culture that we need to create. This will make sure people can pursue new incomes at work: personal satisfaction, meaningfulness, happiness and growth,” she said.

“It’s all about trust, empowerment, and ownership, and we very much believe that, without it, agility and remote-first won’t exist.”

Although operating a “remote-first” model has benefits for both employees and the business, Piotrowska said there were many dangers employees need to be made aware of.

“Remote work has its own dark side. It all depends on how wisely people manage their time. We don’t want them to work 12 hours a day just because they have the freedom to do so, so we educate them about the dangers and pitfalls of this.”

She said having this level of operational agility means employees are able to change their roles if they wish to do so.

Staff in a remote-first organisation also need to be open to change, “Growth mindset is one of the most important elements of our culture check. Only 2% make it through our recruitment process because of this.

“We need to make sure the people who join our company are open to constant change, that they are inquisitive, that they are open to giving and receiving feedback,” said Piotrowska.

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