Strange New World
For many of us, the workplace we know has all but disappeared. Most US businesses have found they have to shutter their doors and allow their employees to work remotely from home. The good news is that technology can ultimately make this possible. The bad news is that most companies have not had to face having all their workers work from home at the same time. So how do we cope with these challenges and somehow keep our workforce motivated and productive?
New Ways to Work amidst Covid19
Recently Forbes released an article in which the author offers employers some guidance as to how to manage this new paradigm of a remote workforce. It seems that many business owners are coming to grips with a world of work that spans from mildly inconvenient to completely debilitating. To those employers who are struggling to adapt to a new, remote way of working together, the following actions should be considered:
- Develop and align around explicit expectations. Those organizations that are unfamiliar with working remotely will likely find themselves, both individually and as a group, experiencing frustration in this new environment. If not today, give it a few weeks. Setting aside time right from the start to align your team around expectations of work in this new environment can help to minimize the frustration that you and others may begin to feel over time working in these new ways.
- Get familiar with technology. Thankfully, over the last decade, technology has advanced to the point where many workers can stay fully productive working remotely. Video conferencing technology, project management software, and applications like Slack really close the space between people who must collaborate to get their work done.
- Get creative. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. If your teams are not used to operating remotely, you are going to have to experiment to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Keeping focused on the customer and being open to exploring, testing, and refining the ways you work together will help to ensure that frustrations are kept to a minimum.
- Rethink meetings. If you and your team are not accustomed to meeting remotely, there are a few best practices that will help you keep on task in this new environment.
- First and foremost, have an agenda. Provide people with a clear understanding of why you are meeting, what you need to learn, and what decisions need to be made.
- Second, ensure that someone is assigned to actively facilitate the process. Facilitating remote meetings is an art, and someone with skill should be present to ensure that everyone is engaged throughout.
- Third, be sure that the team leaves with clear next steps and timelines. This is especially important in remote meeting environments where people tend to go into their “holes” to work after meetings. Keeping them focused on what’s most important is key.
- Give and ask for some grace. These are trying times for many people. At one point or another, things might get a little tense. People are navigating a lot more than just trying to figure out how to work remotely right now. Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt. Provide them with whatever support they may need and ask the same of others as you find yourself encountering challenges.
There May be a Silver Lining
The current challenges that we face are undoubtedly creating a myriad of complications for many in the workforce. Work and life are being impacted in a variety of ways. During times like this, many are forced to develop new habits and routines to meet their responsibilities to their families and to their employers.
The silver lining is that we may find ourselves in positions to create new ways of working. We will discover methods for adapting to the current environment in ways that help us achieve our collective and individual goals despite the dynamic environmental conditions that we find ourselves in.
We may very well be looking at the future of work itself. But first and foremost, we must keep our employees’ physical and mental health and overall well being as our top priority. If we do that, we will surely make it through this trying time.
Let us know if we can help!