2020, the year of the pandemic, we continued to work from home, be it the makeshift office in the bedroom, the kitchen table, or the loft space you hardly used.
Come 2021, hybrid work arrangements became mainstream. While we continue to struggle to bring people back into offices, remote work has shown that it can leave organizations productive and profitable.
The future of work is changing and I believe, it’s time it did. We no longer are in the industrial age and the ways of managing and tracking people at work that we continue to use are from that age. Remote work has changed all that and will continue to do so.
There was a time when it was believed that we need teams to congregate in one place to be able to create, collaborate, and thrive. Now, it’s been proven that the same can be done virtually as well. Remote work is real and there are no two ways about it.
People need to be treated as individuals who are self-motivated, intellectual, and trustworthy and that is the backbone of any remote work arrangement. Managers also need to evolve to embrace and capitalize on such prospects.
Remote work has taught us new ways of being focused on our tasks at hand while juggling life. We still need to ensure we have the discipline to gather our thoughts before we set to work, inculcate that rigor in our undertaking, find time for breaks to rejuvenate, and double down on execution. With the flexibility to work as we want through the day, and the need to congregate with team members at scheduled meetings to exchange information and collaborate, we get more focused time to attend to our work and impact better.
Discipline allows us to switch contexts throughout the day while taking advantage of the flexibility we have.
Virtual meeting solutions expect a whole new set of relationship-building skills. It’s no longer in person, though it’s face to face. How you connect on virtual platforms is an art unto itself that you need to develop and personalize. The small talk of in-person meetings has also moved to virtual settings and to good effect.
Bonding matters for people to work effectively together.
Trust is paramount in any work relationship and it’s more important than ever in remote work situations. Having faith in each other to do the right thing and be able to collaborate is a must. Leaders need to show their team that they trust them and it’ll go a long way in improving morale and productivity. Of course, training and coaching can be challenging for new team members but can be executed, if the team comes together to support each other.
Performance management also changes with remote work, with a focus on deliverables and their quality than anything else. Focus on accomplishments.
Language, the ability to write and relate are centerstage with remote work arrangements as it’s a key part of interacting and communicating with each other. The more you document and communicate, the better off you are. A lot is lost in assumptions when you are face to face, but in this case, you have to be elaborate and explicit to convey messages.
Employee needs also are different with remote work situations. As leaders, constantly reach out to show that you care and help resolve challenges they may have, be it related to the work environment, infrastructure, connectivity, or just the nature of work they tackle.
Employee benefits also need to be revisited to ensure they hold meaning in the new normal. Be generous with your motivation, communication, and acknowledgment of what the employees are doing to contribute to the team and the organization. Show them you care that they are juggling work and life and that you are with them every step of the way.
Business models are in for a change with all this.
There is more for employees and employers as well. It can be a true win-win if we get ready together to step into the new world of future work!