The ongoing pandemic has taught us many lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn – among them, that many jobs don’t require (although they can benefit from) a corporately-sponsored congregate workspace. Lots of people like the new (Ok, not all that new) arrangement (for now), and pandemic or no pandemic, this genie is never going entirely back into the bottle.
Since converting our in-person speaking and training practice to a largely online delivery model in March of 2020, I’ve spent much of what would have been airplane and hotel time learning instead what effective leaders in successful organizations are doing, not just thinking, to keep their teams productive, engaged, and developing, in this new world of work.
As promised in my post of December 21, 2020, here are half a dozen lessons that leaders have shared with me, about leading in a remote and hybrid environment. The other half dozen (plus a baker’s extra) will be coming next week. Subscribe to this blog to be notified when it comes out.
- We have to equip leaders with a remote mindset. Stop trying to equate remote work with being there in person. They’re not the same. We don’t need to get all balled up over it, but just realize that, in many significant respects, the two environments are different…and act like it.
- Be careful not to create a new underclass of workers, remote vs. onsite.
- Make sure your remote workers have what they need, material and otherwise, to do their best work. One way to do this is to develop and deploy a brief online survey, asking them how they’re doing, how their remote work experience is going, and what you can do to help.
- If yours is a hybrid team, have you noticed, in video meetings, that those together in the room seem more engaged than those dispersed on the Zoom? To level things out, try having meetings where everyone joins by videocall, whether they’re in the office or not. You’ll be amazed at how this trick levels the field for all.
- Use your phone to make a short video from time to time, sharing news, encouragement, and, most importantly, a message of appreciation. Send it to everyone on the team, remote or not, and occasionally include an easy request near the end, to keep people engaged. (“Send me one new way you’ve been able to help a customer this week,” for example.)
- Learn about the Pomodoro Technique, a well-established way to organize the workday. It’s especially helpful for remote workers. Teach it to your team and encourage them to use it.