In the post-pandemic world, remote work is here to stay. Eventually, it won’t be called remote work anymore, it will simply be called: work. No more going to work, we will simply start and stop working from wherever we are. In my network, I hear both sides of the coin. Some don’t want to be remote all of the time, and some do. Some don’t mind traffic, although most definitely do. Some see the office as a place to get away from a crazy busy household of kids and pets, others see the office as a myriad of noise and distractions, taking away their ability to concentrate and do good work.
No matter your point of view on remote work, working from anywhere is here to stay, and as teams become increasingly made up of individuals living just about anywhere in the world, leaders need to begin figuring out how to maintain engagement and inclusivity for themselves and their teams, whether they are in the office or in another country.
Here are some tips to consider as we all settle into the permanency of work happening from anywhere.
- Schedule compulsory virtual team meetings…and turn your camera on! These are so important! Humans take in so much information visually; having a permanent time to get your team together so they can see and hear each other on camera, is critical to relationship building. Even if there’s no news or business to cover, still come together; use the time to get to know each other on a social level, or maybe use the time to share development aspirations and see what kinds of support systems unfold. You never know what unused skill sets your team has that might be useful for your next project.
- Keep your company culture alive. In the office, as explained in this article on the SHRM website recently, it’s easy to walk around the office and see the company values demonstrated by example. In a virtually distributed team, it becomes more challenging to see and hear company values in acton. Make the time to have intentional conversations about what it looks like to demonstrate values and principles remotely as well as in the office. Also discuss how your company’s values and principles show up in teamwork and goal achievement.
- Be available for your team. By this, I am not talking about time-wise; be available in the truest sense of the word by actively listening to your team and being accountable for your responses and follow-up actions. If you are multi-tasking on a one-on-one virtual checkin, you are not making yourself available. This is no different than meeting with your team in person.
- Put a name card on the conference table representing remote team members. There will be times when a few people are in the office together for a team or project meeting, and 1 or 2 people are remote. This puts an exclamation point on the inclusion factor, because sometimes, out of sight can be out of mind. Remote attendees are equal contributors, even though they are 2-dimensional small squares on your laptop. Putting their name on a tent card on your conference table during a meeting forces in-office members to “see” them and ensure remote attendees are always included in the conversation.
These are just a few ideas for leaders to help themselves and their teams make a smooth transition to the permanency of working from anywhere. What are you experiencing at your organization? Is remote work now a standard way of working? Do you have a blended model? What are some of the unexpected, positive results of shifting to a remote work model? I’d love to hear about it, please leave a comment or email me!
Lead on, from no matter where you are!