This is the third of a five-part series on the realities of remote work.
Given the challenges that the pandemic thrust upon us, being flexible has been a key not only for successful remote working, but also in our personal lives.
Remote working acknowledges that employees have a difficult work/life balance (children, elders, care-giving) that has always been there, but is now visible for all to see.
When the pandemic locked us down and everyone who could was working from home, life became both simpler and more complex. We were able to skip the commute, which added anywhere from 1 to 3 hours per day (or more). We constructed our home offices (workstation, spare room, cubbyhole, etc.) and did our best to focus on work. We continued to juggle children, elder care, and daily life, but now all of that effort became visible in ways we weren't expecting. Smart managers embraced the flexibility themselves, and rolled with the changes as we adjusted to this way of collaborating.
Remote working humanizes employees and managers (kids, pets, homes), breaking down barriers and improving communication.
The dynamic between managers and employees changed significantly when we realized that they too had families and obligations that would occasionally break through on video. We could literally see and hear the pets and kids, removing some of the mystique, and putting everyone on equal footing. In other words, their dogs were as likely to bark during a meeting as ours might.
Setting core hours allows different start and end times, with better focus possible in between.
Given everyone's need for flexibility, smart companies established core hours during which everyone would be at their desks and available for meetings. (typically 9 am to 4 pm or 10 am to 4 pm). This meant everyone could handle their obligations before or after work, adjusting their working hours accordingly. Some companies had this kind of standard before the pandemic; it makes even more sense now.
There's no question that flexibility makes remote work attractive, and that flexibility will be a sticking point with your employees if your company does not continue to offer it post-pandemic. If you'd like to brainstorm 3 or 4 ideas your company can use immediately, just visit www.TalkToToolie.com to schedule an Executive Strategy Session.