Our working lives have changed dramatically for some of late and for others, flexible and remote working arrangements have long being a perk in their organisations and one that has fostered loyalty and high levels of engagement, for those who have enjoyed this high trust model.
This new model of working also provides further options for employers, where roles may now be based in variable locations with reduced costs for fixed overheads and options around how you run your business, attract top talent and achieve optimum performance and organisational success.
With this largely being the new norm in same form or another, for organisations, one of the key challenges we are observing, is leaders challenged by this new dynamic and adapting to a different way of fostering connection, collaboration and delivery whilst remote.
- Set the Scene/ Vision:
It is critical for leaders to set the scene and ensure that their people are connected to the organisations vision and goals and never more so then now. With remote workforces, the understanding of WHY and HOW is critical for each person’s engagement, performance and delivery. Understanding how their role and part to play affects the whole and links to ultimate success/failure for the business needs to be clearly communicated. High performing people are truly engaged and connected to these goals and the “WHY” of your business. They will will therefore demonstrate loyalty, delivery and genuine passion for their part in this.
- Touchpoints/ Scheduled Connection/ Check Ins:
When people are working remotely, the biggest concern is that they, their employer or leader feel disconnected from each other, the team and potentially the wider organisation. Leading through uncertainty takes a more considered approach and the personal care factor and leading with empathy is critical in these times.
To ensure disconnection does not occur, consider and plan the following:
- Schedule a daily kick start with your team
- Schedule time with each member of your team in the week for you both to connect personally and to walk through outcomes achieved or challenges and set the scene for the week ahead
- Include different mediums (phone, email, ZOOM/ Teams) to ensure you have a blend of connections, some scheduled and some just off the cuff.
- Set up some healthy competition/ ways to celebrate success and acknowledge these with the wider team and business
- Empower your people more than ever before (allow an environment where people can try things and potentially fail/learn from this), with ownership, provide clear outcomes to be achieved and then let them get on with it. This will avoid people feeling micromanaged and you may well be surprised with the results you achieved!
- Understanding Your People’s Personal Pressures/ Challenges & Triggers:
Great leaders understand that people bring more than a professional persona to work and that connecting on a personal level and understanding what is going on for your people (including challenges in their remote working set-ups and potential distractions) is really important to best support and set them up for their own success.
‘Working remotely brings it’s own set of challenges, including new distractions, demands and potentially challenges around when to have down time, looking after their wellbeing, including how to disconnect from work at the end of a day.’
- Check in on people randomly and ensure they are taking breaks, are switching off and have mechanisms to look after their wellbeing when working remotely.
- Link everything to performance, not time spent working so if they have achieved outcomes they can switch off ‘guilt free’
- If your team member has indicated they have a particular pressure point, then work with them on creating their own solutions to address this and check-in and make sure they are holding themselves to account on addressing this and are seeking your support as needed.
- Foster an environment of high trust and delivery with clear parameters, deadlines and where people understand what is expected of them and by when, and what success looks like.
- Acknowledge and celebrate success and tell people regularly where they have done a great job (or not), with clear reasons why and evidence that supports this. Feedback of any description is golden and delivery is an art, which as leaders we must master (another topic for a blog altogether!)
- consider your own assumptions and behaviours. Take care to ensure that your decisions around meetings and communications works for your people, as well as you and that they are involved and agree how this is managed for genuine buy in.
Last but not least, remember that one size does not fit all and ultimately you and your team need to adapt and regularly review what is working and what needs to evolve. Testing & Adapting is part of a ‘winning mindset’ and this alone is great practice for people to become ‘adaptive and flexible’, both in working style and mindset. This is our new normal and what successful business leaders practice until this becomes a part of their ethos.
Michelle & Wayne are Directors/ Founders of Fusion Partners, specialising in Senior Leadership Search, Recruitment Services, Business Coaching & Consulting.