A recent survey by law firm CMS showed that only 23% of businesses in UK, Europe and Asia think that their staff have been more productive or motivated while they have been working from home. This matches pre-COVID surveys that showed mixed results for the effects of remote working.
We cannot afford this situation, for our businesses or for ourselves, especially as scientific commentators and others are now predicting that we have at least a year to go before we start coming out of this ghastly COVID-19 situation. Whilst I prefer the idea of thinking this will all be over by the spring, this might lead to inadequate planning, or worse to pursuing the wrong strategies.
Moreover, those who are achieving good results now can’t afford to be complacent. We have the winter to get through to add to pandemic woes.
As we grapple with the dilemma of whether or not to actually go into the office, it seems to me that we are at a juncture where leaders and managers need to recalibrate how they are managing their teams and up their game.
We cannot achieve business success, if we have a workforce that is ill or in despair.
Calling in regularly with your team members to check on their well-being comes naturally to some but is the last thing that comes to mind for others. Moreover, it becomes more difficult if you yourself are feeling low. However, it must be prioritised and must be proactive. Offering a helpline is neither proactive nor preventative enough, though it is important.
We must also, of course, look out for our own well-being, as well as those of our colleagues and peers. Those of you at the top need to make sure you have someone looking out for you.
At the start of the pandemic, I wrote several blogs about leading virtual teams. The topics continue to apply and even more so. I will revisit them over the next few weeks.
My top tips for this week are
1. Plan for another 12 to 18 months of pandemic. Hopefully, this will still enable some possibility of getting together in-person but prepare for us being mostly working from home.
2. Prioritise well-being. Find out how your team members are. Be non-judgemental. Let them know they can talk freely to you without this jeopardising their career, or your assessment of them. Be prepared to make adjustments to work routines to suit their circumstances. Just be there and be supportive. It will pay dividends.
Our online course ‘Leading Virtual Teams’ is designed in ‘episodes,’ so you can dip into it, as and when, for ideas on how to manage and motivate remote workers. It is a great resource to have available for your team leaders.
©Janice Caplan 2020