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The last 18 months have certainly thrown a few changes and challenges our way! COVID and the lockdowns and quarantines it brought with it has seen millions globally have to suddenly work from home.
COVID has also undoubtedly changed how a lot of people and companies feel about home working, as it’s become clear that some roles can be as productive when performed remotely, accelerating a workplace revolution along the way.
For many, these new models of working are here to stay and now, as the dust has started to settle, the time has come to reflect on what we have all learned and utilize this experience and knowledge to create an optimal workplace of the future.
Working from home has so many benefits; a 1- minute commute, casual dress , and being in to sign for all your Amazon deliveries, but the harsh truth is it isn’t a one size fits all.
Often the reality can be far from the hype - having a productive and rewarding relationship for everyone can be hard if based only digitally.
Company culture may need to be developed and reinforced in new ways to ensure the distributed workforce has full knowledge of the norms and values expected of them. Employees are able to build relationships and gain the implicit knowledge that is so much easier to pass on when everyone comes into the workplace.
The good news is that already companies are progressively adopting training in the cultural, social ,and relationship aspects of remote work, with results from a recent PwC survey showing that 64% of executives plan to invest in training leaders to manage a more virtual workforce.
But, there is no still no getting away from the fact that home working can see many struggling with social isolation. Work truly is a place where we make real connections and relationships, especially for new members of a team.
As a remote worker, you can run a real risk of being ignored for work opportunities as managers simply forget to develop and promote home workers in favor of employees they see more often in the workplace.
You also can miss out on learning experiences that happen just because you were there, or that really useful piece of information or instant feedback you heard when chatting at the water cooler or in the break room.
Remote employees need to be proactive so they remain visible and on their manager’s radar to ensure they are viewed as engaged and productive. Companies also need to adapt and train to ensure they maintain equity between home and on-site workers.
Being a great leader for many companies means being present and visible; not easy if you or your team work remotely.
It can't be denied that it is easier to supervise when you are present with your team as you have so many opportunities throughout the day to reinforce your message and monitor performance.
Offering great leadership remotely can make building and maintaining necessary relationships so much harder - it is vital to use technology to imitate in-person connectivity.
Recruiting strategies may also need to adapt to ensure the workforce (and especially leaders) have the skills and competencies to excel in a remote working environment. This includes effective virtual communication skills, being self-motivated and able to take initiative.
For many workers, advances in technology over recent years have made working from home possible during COVID. For so many ,however, being present on-site to do a task, often as part of a team, or to use specific site-based equipment, is still very much necessary.
No matter the advances in technology, ask any Construction Superintendent and they will tell you that there’s no replacement for eyes on inspection!
Significantly, a recent report highlighted that only 65% of Americans surveyed had fast enough internet to support viable video calls so there is a real need for the development of the digital infrastructure in parts of the country.
Therefore, maintaining some on-site connections is key to building a strong culture and camaraderie across the team.
We are all still reeling from recent events and it is going to be trial and error for many companies. The plus side though is although the rapid move to remote working due to Covid was unexpected, we now all have the opportunity to take a more proactive, strategic and intentional approach to company policies and management practices for both employers and employees.
If you’d like to know more or need to address changes in your workforce as remote working evolves get in touch, via email.