The High 5 Issues 2020 Taught Us About Distant Work

As early as March 2020, when more than 40 percent of Americans commuted to their kitchen tables and makeshift corners of the home office, few believed they would still be there now, almost a year later. And yet we are here.

The big question that arises in the minds of many employees and managers is what all this means for the future of work. Some argue that the great work-from-home experiment of 2020 will lead to the end of offices forever. Others say the past year has actually proven that we need offices for the collaboration, the creativity, and just the excuse to get out of the house they offer.

Aside from the task of predicting the future, we can be sure of one thing: we have all understood the reality of remote working much more clearly. How well you can run a company, manage employees, and achieve your own work goals depends, of course, on your particular circumstances. And while you may not be able to change your circumstances, you can better prepare for success, whether it be just for the remaining months of uncertainty or for a future where flexible working arrangements are the norm. Below we’ve rounded up some of our best lessons we’ve learned over the course of the pandemic for making work from home better.

1. Be more concerned about the things you are doing.

Commuting, coffee breaks in the office kitchen, a sandwich at a nearby deli – you’ve probably never fully understood how much these normal routines structured your working day in the past. Without those natural breaks that physical and mental breaks provide, you likely feel like you are working 24/7 and still not accomplishing as much because your focus is shot. What is missing is intentionality.

Beyond the obvious, like working out a dedicated, comfortable work area – preferably one with a door that you can close – and setting a schedule that you stick to, think about how and when you have space between you and Of your work. For example, if commuting was a crucial way for you to gather your thoughts at the beginning and end of each day, recreate this ritual by taking a walk before you jump to work and then again after you are done . This separation is key to helping you switch context during the day. This is especially difficult when your biggest change of perspective is moving from the bedroom to the living room.

2. Improve your relationship building skills.

Meanwhile, you will be forgiven for having a love-hate relationship with tools like Zoom, Slack, and the like. They serve their purpose, but they can’t really make coworkers feel connected. If you’ve attended at least one awkward Slack happy hour meeting, you know what I’m talking about. (Although there is an argument that turning on your camera goes a long way in making people vulnerable to each other and being able to bond together.) What is missing is a genuine interest in and mutual care as people.

It’s as simple as starting out with small talk with your co-workers and co-workers. Do you remember the names of their children? Or the unusual hobby that you took up in your free time? Instead of asking, “Did you have a good weekend?” – a key question, if there ever was one – get specific and really learn how the others live. How was Kevin’s first day in kindergarten? How is your meditation practice going? This is emotional intelligence at its best: instead of going through the moves and check boxes, you are building a relationship that is centered on empathy, which is vital regardless of the work arrangement.

3. Show your team that you trust them.

Working together effectively only works when you really believe that your teams can do their jobs wherever they are. This may require a change in leadership style if you previously placed a lot of emphasis on your employees getting their jobs done in the office. For example, when Siemens made the rather inconspicuous announcement in July about how its teams would integrate remote working two to three days a week as the new normal, CEO Roland Busch gave everything to say that the new model requires a different kind of remote working measurement Employee performance: the company would focus on the results rather than the time logged.

If you are already thinking that you will or need to set a remote work policy in the future, here is a suggestion: keep it simple. Do not worry about how and when and what to do with unusual situations. A two-sentence guideline (similar to Siemens’) might be all you need: Don’t measure success by how many hours your employees work. Instead, focus on what they achieve.

4. Make writing skills your new superpower.

According to Chris Herd, founder and CEO of Firstbase, a platform that enables companies to provision and manage the physical equipment their teams need to work remotely. He says that while email, Slack, and all other real-time communication apps can be useful tools, they are only as effective as the messages they contain. “Documentation is the unspoken superpower of remote teams,” says Herd. One of the easiest ways to improve your collaboration game is to focus on how you use the written word: when you explain how something is done, are the steps clear and easy to follow? How is your tone perceived when you give feedback? When building a new relationship, do you convey trust and confidence? These questions all become more important when you’re not right in front of someone.

5. Find out what individual employees need.

This advice applies now and in the future, regardless of where your employees will do their jobs. Perhaps it is time to revise your perks and benefits and adjust them to the new normal, such as: B. Add scholarships for virtual fitness and wellness classes, meditation and sleep apps. When people feel like they need to be “on” all the time, consider days without a meeting and establish clear guidelines for company-wide digital availability. The goal here is to avoid burnout before it becomes a problem. And don’t just think of the staff who juggle and work with young children, difficult as that may be. Words of appreciation for the people who may fill the void can go a long way. This can also highlight the benefit of taking a break for a change of perspective.

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