Due to the Corona crisis, we are suddenly stuck at home and need to rethink our routines and behaviours — not only in private matters but also in work-related matters. Some of us were already used to remote work, but others started from scratch.
Remote work creates challenges that we do not face at the office. Old and settled office routines and rules get challenged. Suddenly employees prefer to work at unusual times, for example in the evenings when their homes are calmer. Active communication is required, whereas a short and random exchange in the hallway or the kitchen was everything that was needed in office times. Chats and phone calls leave more room for interpretation and misunderstandings than face-to-face conversations. New technology and software tools are required to ensure collaboration and communication. I have identified some strategies and tips that can help you make the online experience better and more productive. Have a look here for some inspiration:
1. Clarify expectations
The biggest mistake is to assume that everything is clear and the same as back at the office. That assumption leads to frustrations, misunderstandings, and a lack of clarity and direction for every person involved. Remote work is different from office work, and therefore it is essential to clarify expectations and needs, even about topics that seem obvious. Read here more about that topic.
2. Focus on results and create commitment
Since home working became omnipresent, many companies increased their focus on time even more. Rules related to business hours got reinforced, or new ones such as a response time on chat messages or emails got introduced. Such practices can lead to frustration and demotivation because the lack of trust becomes even more visible.
Especially during the Corona crisis, many of us faced challenges and distractions like our families, flatmates and pets because everyone was at home all the time. People develop new routines and re-discover personal preferences like their most productive working hours.
Consider focusing on results instead of time. That mindset change increases commitment and motivation since working hours can be adjusted to personal circumstances and needs. Furthermore, a focus on results leads to clear goals and objectives, improving communication. On top, it is a lot more fun for everyone.
The focus change from time to results is only possible when everyone is committed to their work. Commitment can be created and increased by having regular planning and sync sessions in which team members commit to dedicated work packages. Read here more about that topic.
3. Have Focus Time
Focus time means that employees can use dedicated time blocks to focus on one task entirely. During that time, chat platforms, phones, email programs and other communication possibilities are muted or turned off.
Focus time increases, among other things, productivity, quality and efficiency. Apart from that, it also reduces stress. It is the foundation to get into a flow state, resulting in deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction.
Tough response times and working hours collide with the essence of focus time. Therefore it is worth reconsidering such rules. However, some prerequisites such as “Acceptance”, “Respect”, “Trust” and “Focus on Results” are mandatory to make it work.
4. Try Consent decision making
When your company has an “autocratic”, “consensus” or “majority vote” decision style, meetings tend to be loud with hard discussions and arguments. They are often time-consuming, and often precious voices do not get heard, which leads to frustration and lack of new ideas and input.
Conducting remote decision-making meetings can present an entirely new challenge. Loud and hard discussions are tough to follow, especially when several people want to talk simultaneously. Silent people mentally disconnect even further from such discussions.
To change such a remote and physical meeting dynamic, it is worth experimenting with a Consent decision-making approach. Consent decision making means the absence of objections. This approach was adopted by the Sociocratic movement and urged the group to accept a solution that is “good enough” and safe enough to try. Employees come prepared for such meetings by providing an idea and a possible solution. Consent decision making follows a formal process, and a decision is made if no meaningful objection is stated.
This approach can seem discouraging initially, but people get accustomed to it over time. Furthermore, it has a lot of advantages in the long run, such as more buy-in from everyone, a non-toxic meeting culture, valuable input and information during meetings, and it saves a lot of time. Read here more about that topic.
The whole change to remote work is not easy. These tips will help you face these new challenges and create a powerful and efficient remote work experience. It will be worth it in the end!