The transition to a fully remote work environment has not been easy for many entrepreneurs and businesses across the globe.
That is why we spoke with Candace Giesbrecht, a Coach, and Consultant with 25+ years of senior leadership experience, in both not-for-profit and private sectors in addition to being the part-time Director of Engagement, Pacific Region for Teamit.com, she has a broad and deep toolbox to draw from to discuss the rise of remote work and how entrepreneurs can navigate this transitional period.
“All of us have been forced to reevaluate the way that we’ve done things,” she said. “but often innovation comes out of necessity.”
Surprisingly, Giesbrecht said that despite the challenges, this shift has had a positive effect on the dynamic between employers and employees. As a result, more employers are embracing remote work, as they see the potential for increased team engagement.
“Over 70% of respondents in a recent survey said that the experience of COVID-19, and sending people home, has positively impacted their view of remote work,” she said.
These positive experiences signify an important shift, as typically, remote work has been associated with slacking — or shirking from home. However, these connotations are merely misconceptions, she said.
“Generally, people who work remotely are shown to actually be more productive and at higher risk of burnout and loneliness, rather than getting less work done.”
These findings contradict the popular notion that remote workers tend to shirk from home, however, some employees might find themselves struggling to maintain discipline with this new flexibility.
To be a successful leader under this new workplace model, Giesbrecht suggests focusing on three important factors: asynchronous communication, results-based tracking, and virtual workplace accessibility.
Ensure that all work is documented allows for a continuous flow of information, independent of synchronous (real-time) communication.
Rather than tracking productivity based on time spent working, focusing on the output; how much work is actually getting done – allows you to better comprehend your team’s capabilities.
Virtual Workplace Accessibility
Making sure that your team has everything they would typically have access to if they were working in the office.
As a final note, Giesbrecht warned, it is important for employers to also cooperate with their team members by fostering an open environment and implementing healthy remote work practices. If they are successful, employees are more likely to effectively maintain a healthy work-life balance and contribute higher productivity levels than they would have in a co-located office space.
Moreover, remote workers must be adaptable, she said, which is a skill that can be learned by considering team members’ individual competencies and exploring their potential areas of improvement. In essence, the best practices to adopt for virtual team building require introspection on part of both leaders and employees.
“My advice is to take time to look back over the past 8 weeks; do a postmortem, ask yourself what you set out to do over that time, how it went, where you succeeded and failed, and what you can learn and carry forward,” she said.
“I would suggest just taking the time to capture the learnings and get feedback. Talk to your staff, find out how it’s really been going.”
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