THE NEW WORKING NORM (For now... at least)
Today, more than ever we are looking for ways to stay in. To stay home for the safety of others. It has been a rough start to 2020 and there is no doubt that working from home is increasingly becoming the norm.
A combination of the following are some factors leading to this new way of working:
- Coronavirus - forces companies to make the move faster than they had anticipated.
- Businesses are prioritising to reduce their carbon foot print
- Reduced office distractions and increased productivity!! Work from home policies have been proven to assist with morale + more...
-The technology is mature.
BUT if you’re running a company or managing a team, how do you do it well? Whether by circumstance or design, how can your business nail remote working?
1. Be intentional
Whether some team members work from home once a week or your whole company works remotely, acknowledge that it is a distinct and different way of working. Don’t just hope it will sort itself out! Plan for it. Research how other teams are doing it. Work out what version of remote work will work best for your company. Communicate it. Experiment, collect data and be prepared to adapt.
2. Focus on outcomes
When you focus on the work that’s getting done, not the how, you’ll be in the right place to make any kind of flexibility work. We love how intentional The TOM CO is about this by setting company-wide behaviours and getting really specific about outcomes.
3. Build team culture online
You don’t have a water cooler (who does in fact?) so there’s less time to shoot the breeze and understand what’s going on in people’s lives. At Life in the Sun , we use whatsapp to share stories and photos of first days at school, weekends catching up with friends, getting new puppies and more.
Knowing what matters for your team will mean you can get the best from them and for them. It will also help reduce the likelihood of the misunderstandings that can come when you’re relying on digital, emoji-filled communication!
4. Work out loud
When you’re not in an office, you can miss the golden ideas that come through the back and forth of office banter — or the latest update on a client that you overhear in a conversation. Take conscious steps to replicate this online. Overcommunicate. Document everything and make it visible.
At Life in the Sun, for example, Google Docs are our lifeline! We use them to convey all forms of information to each other, especially when we’re working asynchronously: where we’re at with our monthly goals, when a new part-time role comes through, the week’s marketing plan, etc.
5. Encourage your team to make clear plans
The good news about remote work? It can be easier to stay focussed. Bad news? It can mean powering through lunch breaks and natural pauses, which can increase effectiveness and productivity.
At Life in the sun, we love a to-do list to help us focus and smash through the top priorities first. But we also plan for social interactions, breaks and standing up and move around! Being able to do deep thinking work without interruption because you’re working from home is a huge productivity hack but when you switch gears to a new piece of work, do something to physically get moving or recharge the batteries.
6. Build in face-to-face communication
No doubt about it, seeing someone’s face helps everything run more smoothly. Encourage the use of video catch-ups wherever possible, even if it feels awkward at first — phone calls, team meetings, etc.
We've aged a generation in the past three weeks. What matters has sharply come into focus. Family matters. Love matters. Kindness matters. Health matters. Generosity matters. People matter. Community matters. The rest is just noise. Aside from physical distancing, the biggest thing you can right now is choose to see the best in each other. Be kind. Be patient. Be tolerant. Be quick to help out in anyway you can. Be forgiving when you would otherwise be upset. See things through the eyes of others and try understand where they are coming from. Seek out opportunities for generosity. Reconnect with your community. Reconnect with yourself. Reconnect with your priorities. Live them. We're all in this together.