Take all the time you put into your working day over the past couple of months. By this, I am referring to the time spent on “Zoom” Calls, updating various databases and CRMs..perhaps there is a new collaboration tool put in place by your organisation?
Now compare the last few working weeks to the time you spent in office, updating your managers, colleagues, clients and customers pre-“new normal”.
Is there an exact match, are you spending less time or are you pressed to find more space in your diary?
This is not a hypothetical question. Rather, it is something that all managers and employees should be asking themselves as we transition into month two of working from home.
Let us take this one step further. Anecdotally, I am witnessing an increasing number of peers on LinkedIn taking time out of their day to discuss how they’re using their “free time” to upskill themselves and perhaps hone in on some softer skills through utilising online courses such as Coursera of Shaw Academy.
Obviously, a commendable effort but when conducted throughout a workday, can further take away from BAU (or the closest thing to BAU as exists today).
I am the furthest thing from a time management expert (without strict adherence to my google calendar, I am likely to stay working until midnight), however, and maybe because of this, I do not have the ability to waver too far away from the normalities of the average working day.
Even with the level of uncontrollable hitting us on a daily basis right now, we must regulate our time, processes and interactions before we get too far off the road we trotted only recently.
Like taking a wrong course going down a steep hill, easy to go down but an effort to come back.
To veer away from the negative, move toward the positive and perhaps find the pragmatic, let’s look at some dos and some don’ts of communicating remotely:
There was a time recently in which the word “Zoom” conjured up either a picture of Sonic the Hedgehog or made you think of speed (Dependent on your level of inner-nerd). However, it is here and it is here to stay from all accounts.
The utilisation of Zoom (or other video comms) has allowed companies to perform what are essentially team huddles from individual sitting rooms.
Tasks can be shared, monitored and doled out while the recipients are still in their Jim-Jams.
More importantly, it can ensure that everyone is on the same wave-length, each person’s queries addressed, concerns alleviated, and good/bad news stories can be shared, dissected and discussed among peers and management.
By all intents and purposes, it is a team huddle 2.0 and important to help people feel a sense of normalcy.
Slight exaggeration on this one but not too far off the mark from some of what I’m hearing from candidates in certain companies.
In a time where it is vitally important to gain and withhold competitive advantage, employees and managers must maintain the ability to be “first past the post” and to do this, involves a level of trust between managers and their staff’s capacity to correctly use their time and resources without hindrance and over reliance on “check ins”. If the trust existed in the office, then it must exist in the home office.
Similar to point one, communication is integral between management and staff. Likewise, individual communication is fundamental to ensure the employee’s well-being and workload. To say that now is a difficult time for employees would perhaps be the understatement of the year.
With this, it is a valuable investment of time for managers to run one-to-ones with employees individually to discuss any concerns, grievances or fears and map out ways in which these can be rectified and managed throughout the week. With a follow up one-to-one the following week, this can be reflected upon and adjustments can be factored in if necessary
Trust was mentioned earlier and trust will be mentioned again. It is beginning to transition from an educated guess to a certainty that the world of office Vs remote working will be changed permanently and that this element of the “New Normal” will stay.
Through this, it is imperative that employees feel as trusted at their home desk as they do at their office cubicle. This is not a difficult one to reform, if amendment is required, as it simply boils down to the question of, “why are you working together?”
Likelihood is that you are working together due to both the management and employees’ ability to conduct the role and to do it well enough based on their prior work and previous experience. Remembering this will allow managers to feel more at ease and employees to feel more confident in their ability to do the role well.
All in all, I do believe that the above points come down to one simple factor; Emulate the office atmosphere, comradery and trust as much as possible even when apart. Or, as the phrase that continues to be bandied about of recent, “Be Alone Together”.
Author: Rob Griffin
Rob has more than 5 years’ experience recruiting in the technical space, with successful stints in both Canada and the UK. Now back in the Big Smoke, Rob has joined the TalentHub team. He works with a portfolio of both ‘bricks and mortar’ and ‘pure-play’ businesses who are looking to increase their productivity through the acquisition of high performing Tech talent.