Leading Remote Teams
Moving from ‘Work from Home’ to ‘Work from Anywhere’
The idea called ‘Work from Home’ was forced on nearly any organisation since the beginning of lockdown(s) and the omnipresence of a global pandemic.
The idea now moved to a formally known concept known as ‘Work from Anywhere’ in a record speed. Some organisations adapted quickly. However, many organisation struggled to change. Resistance to change is nothing unusual. However, a forced change comes with a toll.
How do you prepare your organisation for being ready for an uncertain future?
Mentality and Culture
When you read this article, I, the author of this article, can be sure that you do not come from a German-speaking country (because I offer this article in German). However, culture and mentality play an essential role when you change to a ‘Work From Anywhere’ culture. Especially in the German-speaking world, envy plays a significant role in society. You may not care when someone works on (or better to say: from) a lovely holiday island. Maybe you even are proud of your organisation which makes this possible. Not every culture is this grateful. People might question why there is such a low focus on working on-site or why people are allowed to fly around half the planet to work based on their personal preferences. Be prepared that the cultural gap is a huge one. Talk with people at a very early stage and address any issue you may find as early as you can.
The Social Organisation
Often, people find friends or even partners at work. Working in an office, spending long hours together, celebrating success and solving issues creates a community feeling. The online world does not offer this feeling to the extent people know. Do not try to make online events social by forcing people to pseudo-socialise online. “Now everyone talks about their pets”, “Let’s all talk about what we do next weekend”, “Next up on the agenda is a nice social ‘introduce your Zoom-window-neighbour’ game” — these statements happened during business meetings. Embarrassing. Of course, you should offer events online to socialise when people are unable to meet in person. However, attending them should always be voluntary. Forcing people to talk about their private lives publicly online is an invasion of the private sphere. You will not be able to transfer an organisation’s social life on a two-dimensional meeting tool. The idea of a voluntary offer is a good one. Keep it voluntary.
Leadership and HR
Adapting to the ever-changing needs will only work when Senior Leadership and HR work closely together. Giving Senior leadership too much influence will focus too much on a quick and cheap solution without respecting the individual. Allowing the process being led by HR alone will often make the ideas economically non-viable. Cooperation and collaboration from both sides are must-haves these days for any successful organisation.