These days a typical workday looks like this for me: I wake up at 5:30, shower, get dressed, do my hair, and maybe put on some make-up. I then make a cup of coffee and settle down in my workstation. It also happens to be in my home. The reality is that work has become home, and home is work. We call this the ‘new-normal’, something that is not going away. What’s important, is what we are learning from it.
4 Tips To Surviving the New Work Environment
1 – Over communicate
You need to associate people with communication, to not have a void. We can achieve this through any form of communication that suits the broader team. Leaders have had to adopt various forms of communication, to send the same message or instructions, to different groups of people. Some people like emails, others prefer a call and others are easiest to get hold of, via a quick Teams chat. Our communication needs to be personalized, to ensure that people who are in isolated environments are engaged and updated. Communication can be time-consuming –what used to be a quick chat at the office can now be 3 Teams calls and 2 direct phone calls. What is critical, is that you ensure people stay aligned.
2 – Have a routine
As a leader at Mint Group SA, it is critical to set the example of establishing a new routine that works, not only for you but for your team. Setting new working standards that will last into the future of hybrid work, is an important consideration for many organizations. There are best practices to encourage routine, such as daily team stand-ups, company updates and staff meetings, and bi-weekly check-ins. When developing your new routine, it is important to remember that it needs to be a long-term solution, and not necessarily a means to an end.
3 – Setting clear rules of engagement
Teams can function best when all team members work under the same organizational rules. These can include stipulating core working hours, allowing for flexible working time, being clear on the expectation of deliverables, deadlines, and setting boundaries to manage them accordingly
4 – Listen to form digital trust
In the new digital world, we find ourselves in, there are no longer emotional queues a leader or colleague can pick up on. It is difficult to tell if a team member is in trouble or not getting what they need from the team. By actively listening, and asking more questions, leaders can ensure that they support their staff appropriately.
My Biggest Lesson for Managing Remote Teams
My biggest learning curve has been to learn the art of agility. In 2020, we all lived month to month, and as a business, we moved from quarter to quarter, but the long-term view was no longer vivid. Under the immense pressure of a pandemic, with no end in sight, people are struggling to plan for the long term. To become more agile, and encourage teams, here are some ideas I have taken to heart recently:
Kodak and Nokia are two examples of companies that have taught us so many valuable lessons, around current trends and being agile, to stay ahead of them. The biggest difference that we face now in today’s world, is speed and technology. Every Monday we wake up to new changes in Teams and software.
COVID has also taught businesses how critical being agile is. For example, a pizza shop in Boston found itself with no business during the lockdown. They instead found out that their fires could be used to make medical supplies – and used their vision to adapt and survive. It’s the same with other businesses, you need to set a vision, engage with your staff and the market, maintain humility and understand what you need to adapt to. What drives our ability to adapt and be agile, is the ability to have data and make active decisions based on your data. Being hyper-aware of what is happening in the market and ensuring there is the speed in execution and decision making, is the key to business agility.
Understand Risk in Your Business and Think Differently About it
3 Things are Clear From My Perspective:
1 – Hybrid work is here to stay
As new staff is joining, it is important to define a digital culture that is all-inclusive.
2 – Define your version of a remote worker
With cross-border collaboration now easier than ever, the whole world is now your talent pool. It is possible to create a hub of staff without creating offices or new business.
3 – Define your remote team building and learning paths
Our biggest obstacle going forward is learning to manage in an integrated lifestyle. Some of your staff may not want to go back to the office full-time or to be vaccinated.
Leading with an integrated lifestyle, instead of the traditional balanced work vs home approach, is where employees will find the highest job satisfaction. Home is work now, so we need to focus on an integration of these two worlds, while still meeting the goals of the company.