Leaders and managers at companies everywhere are adjusting to the reality that remote and hybrid work is likely to be a permanent aspect of our work-world.
A recent survey by Owl Labs found that during COVID-19 close to 70% of full-time workers have worked from home. Going forward, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least one day per week and 80% expected to work at least three days from home per week. Interestingly, 59% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an employer who offered remote work compared to those who didn’t.
Let’s re-train some of the leadership “muscles” we use to make sure we are as effective as possible in the remote-hybrid space.
1. Fight Under-Management!
While micro-management gets a lot of attention, the potential for remote work to feel isolated, far-away, and solitary can make it easier than ever to “under-manage” your team. Don’t let things slide just because your team may be physically dispersed — especially communication around feedback and conflict resolution. For more, read Arden Coaching’s blog, “Beware! The 4 signs of “Under-Management.”
2. Reconfigure a Flexible but Regular Schedule
Working remotely has resulted in a significant breakdown between our personal and work lives. It’s hard to “get away” from the office when the office sits on your dining room table or in a corner of your spare bedroom. At the same time, the pandemic has made it easier for people to follow their natural rhythms — “morning birds” can start working before dawn and “night owls” can work well after normal business hours. This has the potential for creating confusion and stress. Make sure your daily routine makes sense for your remote-hybrid employees:
- Schedule consistent times for common, regular meetings. Keep meetings as brief as possible and make sure there are ample breaks between meeting times — we’ve heard too many horror stories about the wear and tear of back-to-back-to-back Zoom meetings!
- Block out chunks of meeting-free time to allow people to get work accomplished. To be effective team members, people need time to concentrate and focus on their deliverables,
- Set workflow expectations with your team. How quickly should anyone expect a response to an email sent at 5:00 am or 8:00 pm? Does everyone know and respect that Jordan has a family commitment and is unavailable on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon through 2:00 pm? Tara is very productive after 11:00 pm. Is it OK that she doesn’t check-in until 10:00 am most mornings?
3. Demand Goal Clarity
It’s hard enough to get everyone on the same page in a conventional office setting. Not only can goals be ambiguous and defined or translated differently by different people, they can also be implied or assumed.
The clearer and more specific goals are, the more successful your remote-hybrid team will be. Go to extra lengths to make sure everyone on your team has the same understanding of objectives, timing, roles and responsibilities, and desired outcomes. If you’ve never used SMART goals, now is a great time to start!
For more ideas, read “Leadership, Delegation, and Working Remotely,” and “Re-Entry and Re-Open: Increasing Employee Engagement,” by Arden executive coach, Karen Delk.
Whether you are a leader or an HR professional striving to meet the leadership development needs of your organization, discuss this with your team:
What aspect of your daily schedule or your routine workflow needs to adapt to a remote or hybrid work environment? What specific changes will you make?
To learn more about improving your leadership skills and getting the most from yourself and your team — remote and in-office, contact Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.