Remote work is here to stay!
What are we going
to do about it?
What does it take to make your team most effective when some members are working remotely?
We have spent over a year working at home. It has had its upsides but there are some serious downsides too - things like feeling isolated, distanced, and perhaps forgotten. It's each to be suspicious of others motives, to be harsh in our dealings with others, to see them as the enemy or at least a villain when we are never face-to-face with them. Keyboard courage - the act of saying hurtful things through the written word that you wouldn't say to someone's face - is becoming more common.
What can we do about this because, as we return to the office, it is never going to be like it was. Some folks will continue to work from home, 40 hours per week, others will have a hybrid schedule and still others will be using a situational option.
With more of us working remotely, we don't pass each other in the halls, going to get coffee, in the cafeteria, or on our way to a meeting. That is a big loss because with it, a natural opportunity for small talk is lost and small talk is BIG talk. We need it to feel connected to each other. A simple thing like asking whether a colleague's child got accepted at the desired university, or whether a sick dog is recovering, creates a sense of community, a sense of trust, that we are human beings, not just workers.
When we don't see each other face-to-face, we miss the simple body language signs that tell us someone is sad, tired, or excited. We don't have access important information about a person's emotional state and so we don't respond appropriately - we don't ask the right questions.
We are also missing the incidental information that can make a big difference in a project - others don't always know what you don't know but when we have casual conversations, information gets shared.
Another issue is the proverbial, "out of sight - out of mind." This can leave you feeling like you have been forgotten and when it comes time to assign a high profile project or you want to be considered for a high profile job, it's easy to be passed over.
Finally, the most important issue is that sense of belonging, being part of a tribe, feeling connected to the organization. I believe this is a big reason so many folks across North America are thinking about leaving their current position - it's easy to look elsewhere if you don't feel emotionally part of your work community - you have little to lose!
Over the next ten blogs, I will be sharing with you the ten best practices for more successful hybrid teams. These discussions are based on my most recent book, "The Ten Best Practices for Managing Remote Workers." These are practical strategies that you can put into practice, whether you are leading a team or you are a member of the team. These strategies will make a big difference in how you feel about your job so watch for them!
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