Exploring the Future of Business Partnerships: RTO vs. Remote Solutions

Posted | Category: BRM Community | Contributed

As a Business Relationship Manager, I spend a lot of time researching industry trends, including technology and business impacts. Nearly every day I see a post or article about Return to Office (RTO). I have mixed feelings on company RTO policies but will leave those for another time.

I’ve been a remote worker since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d previously been a hybrid worker, only working from home when I needed some heads-down work with no distractions. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle working full-time at home, but I quickly learned to love the flexibility and higher productivity level.

Now that we’re in our post-pandemic era, many companies are requiring employees to return to the office–some a few days a week and others 5 days a week.

Let’s talk about how to effectively navigate business partnerships, whether you work in-office or remote.

The Art of Building Partnerships Remotely

I first want to set the record straight with building brand-new relationships. This should absolutely be done face-to-face. I remember a time not too long ago when a peer BRM was partnered with a C-level executive, and communication was almost entirely via video conference. They were hundreds of miles apart so it made business sense–at the time–to partner this way. Despite the practicality of remote interactions, this partnership faced challenges, underscoring the complexity of remote collaborations and the lessons to be learned in navigating these relationships.

While digital platforms offer convenience and accessibility, they lack the personal touch of face-to-face interactions. The experience shared by my peer highlights the potential pitfalls of relying solely on virtual communications for establishing high-level partnerships. It emphasizes the importance of personal interaction in building trust, understanding nuances, and fostering a strong partnership foundation.

Strategies for Effective Remote Partnership Building

To mitigate the limitations of remote interactions, adopting a multi-faceted approach to partnership building can be beneficial:


Regular In-Person Meetings: Whenever possible, arranging regular face-to-face meetings can strengthen the relationship, providing opportunities for deeper engagement and rapport building.

● Clear Communication and Expectations: Setting clear expectations and maintaining open, transparent communication are crucial in remote partnerships, helping to bridge the physical gap.

● Cultural and Emotional Intelligence: Being sensitive to cultural differences and emotional cues, even in a digital format, can aid in building a stronger, more empathetic connection.

The Hybrid Approach to Maintaining Partnerships

While initiating partnerships may benefit significantly from in-person interactions, the maintenance of existing relationships in a remote work environment can be efficiently managed through a hybrid approach. This involves a combination of regular virtual check-ins and strategic face-to-face meetings, especially when addressing:

● Relationship strategies

● Complex negotiations and sensitive discussions

● High-stakes decision-making

● Problem-solving and deep-dive discovery sessions

● Creative brainstorming and ideation

● Critical project kick-offs and milestones

This balanced approach allows for the flexibility and efficiency of remote work while still capitalizing on the critical moments where physical presence can make a significant difference.

The impact of remote work on business partnerships is multifaceted, requiring a nuanced understanding and strategic approach to navigate effectively. The anecdote of the peer BRM’s experience with remote partnering serves as a valuable lesson in the importance of blending digital and in-person interactions.

As we move forward in the post-pandemic era, embracing a hybrid model for building and maintaining business partnerships will likely become the norm, offering a blend of flexibility, efficiency, and the personal touch that is so vital to successful collaborations.

About the Author

Tina Pomeroy is a seasoned professional with over 15 years in the field of technology and financial services. Her dedication to optimizing the synergy between people, processes, and technology have proven her to be an outstanding leader in her field. Tina holds her CBRM credential and was recently named a Top BRM for 2024.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your peers!