A decentralized workforce might be a cause concern for upper management. Gone are the days of being able to go for a stroll through the office, making sure everyone is working and things are running as they should be. So when the work is no longer being done from inside the castle walls how can you be sure it’s being done at all? It’s important to focus on the big picture, and make sure that your objectives are crystal clear. Now is the perfect time to get some perspective; zoom out and take a look at the work being produced: is it in line with your expectations?
The first step is to make sure you’re communicating effectively with your team, but you’ve already read that blog post so you have that under control. Next step is to make sure that you’re aligned with your team on your objectives. For the sake of everyone, make sure there’s no ambiguity as to what is expected of each employee. Paranoia has a way of creeping in when expectations aren’t clear, so better to err on the side of caution and over-communicate when it comes to your objectives. This could mean holding regular check-ins, perhaps even more than you had while everyone was in the office (over video chat-please!), then afterwards follow up with an email outlining the objectives. This is a challenge of leadership; having these corrective conversations earlier rather than later. It’s tantamount that there be no ambiguity as far as expectations.
A common idea which keeps popping up throughout conversations about leading from a far is servant leadership. Just for a second, shift your thinking to the needs of your employees: what is it that they need to succeed and how can you provide that for them? For instance, let’s say that your workforce could become 5% more productive through their physical setup alone. Wouldn’t you make improving everyone’s setup a top priority? The ROI on a proper workspace is huge, it’s immediate, and it makes your people feel valued as employees.
There are a few that tools can also be very useful both to determine your team’s productivity as well as incentivizing employee buy-in which will always be a benefit to the company’s bottom line. Dashboard tools, such as PowerBI, help you to see what’s going on in all areas of the business, in real time. Just a few short years ago, dashboard tools would show data that was a little bit outdated. Now you’re able to see what’s going on in real time, this is the perfect time to be taking advantage of a tool like this.
Now is also a great time to get clear on your company’s KPIs, these can be tools to unite your team together. KPIs can create a sense that everyone is working together towards on specific goal. So you can think of this as a casual game of volleyball, where you’re just bumping the volleyball around. You’re counting the number of times the ball has been bumped before it hits the floor. Once you get up to the 97th or 98th bump, that next person is going to dive across the floor to not let the ball hits the ground. KPIs sort of act in the same way, once there’s buy-in across the team, no one is going to want to drop the ball. It builds a sense of camaraderie.
In times like these, the worry doesn’t need to be on whether or not your team is as productive as during normal times. With strong leadership and tools in place to help your people succeed, things will naturally fall into place. It’s just about keeping focus on outcomes, and continually shifting strategies to keep up with your team’s needs.