Teleworkingets to be or not to beno longer feels like a relevant issue. Realize that it it's about you as a leader accept and stop procrastinating how to take care of your most important task - To coach, manage and follow up with new conditions.
Now social media is abuzz after Di's article about teleworking lowering productivity and costing a lot of money. Some agree, most don't. I think the debate needs to change from "if" to "how".
To think that calling everyone back to work will increase productivity along with commitment, which is an important prerequisite for productivity after saying OK to distance, is difficult.
Recruiters testify that one of the most important parameters in recruitment is the possibility of freedom and working from home. Some managers are concerned that if they do not see their employees they are not working to the maximum, some trust employees completely but have challenges in knowing how the organisation and individuals are doing and how things are progressing on a day-to-day basis. Others think it's quite nice.
I think we have to accept the new and we have to adapt in order to evolve. We cannot do otherwise, whether we are for or against. BUT it has happened so fast and as leaders and organizations have not really kept up. We need to review the conditions for leading and what does it mean to have self-leadership as self-leadership is something that is talked about a lot and I think is a prerequisite for hybrid work.
I think even here it gets fluffy when we talk about seeing, following up, more walk & talk etc.
I've spoken to many leaders in a variety of industries about the challenges they face with teleworking, based on those conversations I've developed a bulleted lista list of tips:
- Are you saying we should be in the office 2 days a week. Get employees to understand why it's important, then make sure everyone is there and that you make something of the presence. Otherwise remove the rule, it will only create frustration.
- Do you keep track of how your employees really feel? Don't hide behind anonymous pulse readings and think you've done yours. How do you know how the INDIVIDUAL feels? Reflection is a good tip here, have employees reflect in writing weekly and give feedback on this. You will then kill many birds with one stone. You can read about it here
- It's not enough to have weekly meetings with the team that you call check ins. How do you see how the individual is doing then? Not everyone is communicative in groups. Just because one person is active and speaks their mind in meetings doesn't mean everyone agrees. Again, weekly reflection is a good solution.
- It's not enough to talk to your employees about their behavioural goals once a year and follow up once every six months (it never has and is not really linked to teleworking, although it gets worse). You need to change your leadership and have a structure for follow-up on both goals and activities continuously.
- Stop being fluffy. If you don't see each other as often, it's even more important to be clear about expectations and to be specific. After all, you don't see each other the same way and can take that tuning out naturally. You can't tell a person to be more structured, for example. WHAT should the person do to become more structured. That doesn't mean you should serve what. But talk about it and write it down and follow up.
- See leadership as something you should work on systematically, set aside time in your calendar just like everything else. You can't do it with your left hand anymore.
- Ensure that both you and each employee have access to what you decide, document. What you agree should be easily accessible and not require a lot of administration.
- Team before self are fine words, but what should each individual do for the team to succeed? Values and culture are important, now it's even more important that you work on these issues with each individual. How do you look at your values? Where do you stand the individual, what does the individual need to work on in their behaviour to connect to values?
If you want more thoughts on how you can do it, watch our recorded webinar where one of our customers also tells us how they did it.
And you, start somewhere. You don't have to be the best at everything at once. But start before it's too late, productivity and engagement drop and your employees quit, go on sick leave - you're completely unprepared.
One step at a time. Eventually you'll have climbed quite far and it will be worth it.