In August 2022 INTRAC closed our offices in Oxford and moved towards a ‘remote first’ way of working.  While we had been working primarily from home since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, it was still sad to say goodbye to our offices. At the same time, it is  also exciting to begin a new phase of INTRAC’s organisational life, especially as we think through the opportunities that being a remote first organisation presents.

What do we mean by remote first?

All staff will be homeworking, but we do not intend to be entirely virtual.  A budget has been set aside which can be used by staff in different configurations for face-to-face meetings; for example for working groups or for team groups to come together for key moments during the year.  We will also continue to have regular INTRAC ‘Together Days’ for all staff (and occasionally the board) to ensure that we continue to retain our strong values-based culture and a focus on learning, innovation, mission, and impact.

Why remote first?

The pandemic taught us that we can work in different ways.  INTRAC had already developed a blended approach to our training courses and had begun to convene groups across the globe to discuss key issues in civil society and international development in different ways.  The pandemic accelerated a move that was already underway, highlighting how we could be much more inclusive, build from a wider diversity of experiences and knowledges, reduce carbon footprint and be more cost effective.  It also led to us being able to cast the net more widely when it came to recruitment, and we now have staff based across the UK and beyond.  Moving officially to remote first will enable us to build on this trend and attract individuals from a wider variety of contexts and experiences, helping root INTRAC globally and enabling us to shift our own power as we work alongside others in the sector to shift power more widely.  This new way of working will also strengthen our engagement with our network of consultants, who we believe are at the heart of INTRAC’s longer term aim to strengthen civil society and influence positive social change.

What next?

Being remote first is a big organisational change for us. We are establishing new ways of working together, ensuring that we retain a strong sense of being part of a values-driven organisation, which not only delivers consultancy, but also training and contributes to sector-wide thought leadership and learning.   We will be balancing attention on our own organisational culture and practice, with investment in our network and relationships, ensuring that INTRAC’s offer to locally led civic action and civil society is useful and relevant, and rooted in the diverse contexts in which we have relationships in, well into the future.