Strategy 3: Develop remote working skills. The reality is that it is fundamentally different to work remotely. Working remotely you do miss many of the everyday office routines, the camaraderie, and plain pleasure of chatting at the coffee machine. Effective collaboration can take a hit because connecting digitally is still a far cry from physically meeting and collaborating with co-workers. A great advice on this article in Harvard Business Review, recommends that we ‘clarify and re-clarify goals and roles. It is important to make sure all colleagues understand your company and team objectives, the roles that they individually play, and how each contributes to the outcome.
Cultivate a remote working culture and mindset. Going beyond the individual, it helps to prepare the broader organization to create an environment that’s more effective for remote working. Especially since digital tools are so core to enabling remote work, it’s important to understand how going digital change the interactions and team work. Helping your colleagues understand and adapt to this change can help tremendously. It’s worthwhile investing efforts to orient your staff on what they can anticipate the changes that they are likely to face with the new remote work environment, the best practices and also the key contact points for issues that they face.
In addition to the technical bandwidth, it’s obviously also wise to pay attention to your human bandwidth. Remote work can throw up unexpected challenges that can impact the team’s productivity and outcomes. Try to mitigate this by thinking in advance about where you have skills redundancy built into your team or how and when you need to resort to skill sets from outside your team.
SUMMARY: GOING DIGITALLY REMOTE DURING THE CORONA VIRUS
While many organizations will be tempted to pave the cowpath with remote work, just replicating what was in the office at the home or local co-working studio, this would be a mistake and a missed opportunity for many organizations.
Instead, as corona virus may end up making us (at least temporarily) far more isolated than most of us ever have been at work, we may likely have a key opportunity to create a compelling new digital remote work environment that is far more engaging, participatory, and full of human connection, context, and contact that we’ve ever had before. Use the opportunity to try innovative new tools, establish important news skills, shift your culture digitally, and prepare for whatever is beyond corona virus and the current distractions it is causing us. Let’s use our new remote work effort to begin to build a genuinely better and more effective organization.