Due to the pandemic, since March 2020 a lot of knowledge workers are working from home. But there is a variance to the usual working from home, because for the ones who have family, spouses and children are at home as well.
The ones who were used to working from home, usually have a study room, a desk in a corner, or a home office environment, and the required infrastructure, such as reliable internet connection, headphones, comfortable chair and desk. And if they have family at home, they are used to the situation and learned to behave accordingly.
The ones who are forced into working from home unprepared, they may lack required equipment and habits to make work productive and engaging. For those who do it the first time, have school kids or younger with them, this period was a quite tiring one. Preparing food, doing the laundry, taking care that the kids are entertained or attend their online learning classes, spent the whole days in one little flat, probably even without balcony, left traces.
Working from home or better say “remote working” can be such a fun and liberating experience, if applied wisely.
These days we are hearing from many executives, that they are planning to reduce their office spaces, allow or even steer staff to “remote working”. The arguments behind are “freedom for staff”, “protecting the environment”, and similar. But the core hidden reason looks like cost saving in consideration of the upcoming recession.
If this is the motivation and a “one size fits all” approach is conducted, you may face some issues. Remote staff may lose their feeling of belonging, to the company, to their teams, to the leaders you have raised over the last years. If staff will discover your true reasons behind this move, this will spread rapidly. As you know, the best ones, will leave first. Is it worth it?
So, as with many other aspects of personal and professional life, a balanced approach could be a wise solution. Remote work could be liberating for certain individuals working in appropriate roles. People with disabilities, single parents, people caring for elderly, and such. People who work mostly individually, on the phone or at the desk, and deliver their work during the day, as they feel convenient for their daily routines.
People who need to be next to each other, working highly collaborative, delivering iterative versions of their outcomes, they need to be next to each other and close to their customers, internally or externally. They might be able to do a few of their tasks remotely, but they have to get together frequently in a proper environment, meeting rooms, agile studios, or similar. Don’t separate those effective teams. They will lose their ties, then the motivation will fall, and they will leave.
So, carefully analyze teams and roles, talk to people, individually and in teams, their expectations, their feelings, their requirements, about how they would like to work for you. After all, this is why you hired them, you have some expectations from them to be fulfilled. If you can spare them, this means there was some sort of overhead anyway.
Don’t let the Covid-19 fever catch you too hard. Don’t exaggerate your thoughts and actions. These are no normal days. We will get back to “the better normal”. Define how your “better normal” should look like and try to nudge your teams in that direction. Don’t forget to provide them the necessary support and infrastructure, so they can continue to perform at their best.
Good luck and let’s meet in “the better normal”.
THE BETTER NORMAL SERİES
THE BETTER NORMAL #1: “THE BETTER NORMAL” WILL BE CREATED BY US
THE BETTER NORMAL #2: NO WAY OUT!
THE BETTER NORMAL #3: SYSTEMIC CHANGE OR NUDGE FOR THE BETTER NORMAL
THE BETTER NORMAL #4: A CRITICAL APPROACH TO DIGITAL
THE BETTER NORMAL #5: A CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PERSPECTIVE
THE BETTER NORMAL #6: THE “REAL” RESILIENCE OF SUPPLY CHAINS
THE BETTER NORMAL #7: AIM FOR DIGITAL GREATNESS
THE BETTER NORMAL #8: THE BALANCED VISION
THE BETTER NORMAL #9: Operational Excellence
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