#2. People: Remote working is here to stay
Having been made to work remotely for the last two months, it will be hard for people to go back to being office-bound all the time. In fact, it is not just about the people but also the space - with physical distancing measures, you need a bigger office if everyone is coming back.
The crux is to view remote working as a percentage instead of a yes-no option.
Employees want the flexibility of remote working, but with the choice to head into the office for meetings or to connect with co-workers. To get onboard with the future of work, leaders need to look at three things: technology, team culture, and employee mental health.
Technology: Everyone gets the importance of robust and scalable cloud technology to connect their teams, though make sure you’re not careless with cybersecurity. The crux is to balance cybersecurity with convenience of accessing confidential material from different locations.
Culture: Accountability emerged as a top concern for employers when it comes to remote working. One way to help is to align everyone with the company’s mission and use a disciplined measurement system to guide everyone’s work. The Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework, credited as one of the secret sauce for Google’s success, can be an effective tool.
Mental Health: This was a hot topic during our bimonthly meet-up of Ampersand alumni in April. During our discussion on the impact of COVID-19 and how we can address them, it became clear that remote working affects people differently, so it is crucial for leaders to take the extra step to identify and personally connect with employees who are feeling anxious. Leaders also need to find new rituals and habits, such as virtual happy hours, to cultivate a strong culture while remote working. In fact, our ongoing bimonthly meetings of Ampersand alumni is an example of a ritual that has proven to be really impactful during this period because alumni felt they were not alone, and there are the others to share their issues with.
Takeaway #2: Remote working is here to stay. Figure out the balance for your team: Invest in relevant technology, strengthen your culture, and watch out for co-workers who need help.
Consider: How might you help your team have a better work set-up at home? To build habits and rituals for the New Normal, how would you involve the team to co-create them?