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  • Writer's pictureNeža Krek

What is remote working teaching us about the way we work

I just hang up (a virtual call) with my sister who is working remotely for the first time in her life.

She knew I regularly help small companies gain clarity and up their productivity in their meetings so she sent me a message saying: "Ehm, help! Can you help me get a bit more productive and motivated for my work? I don't seem to get anywhere."

My main message to her was: It's not you. It's the way we are used to working as a society. Now it's time to change that.

You see, she started a new job in December. Only a few months in her new working reality, the Coronavirus self-isolation directives have put her working behind the screen - alone.

All of a sudden, all the communication goes via e-mails, collaborative documents and tools many of her colleagues have never used before. This is the shift so many had to make in a matter of days.

However, I believe many companies underestimated how difficult of a transition this would be for many employees.

Here is what I am hearing from people in my network and what can your team do to avoid a drastic drop in productivity and avoid burnout and frustration.

Clarity check

As I listened to my sister's story it became so clear to me that what she is frustrated about is not the biggest problem. What is in my opinion really at work here, is missing clarity on all levels.

What she and so many other ad-hoc remote workers are now experiencing are in my opinion merely symptoms of the following:

Blurry clarity on the purpose of their projects.

I keep on asking my clients: Do your people know why are you doing what you're doing? Do they feel connected to that purpose at all?

Unclearly defined roles.

Where does one role end and where does the next one start?

Inexplicit guidelines of communication channels in use.

Many times it turns out that smaller companies struggle with a lack of systems in place and clarity on how to use the tool in use. Does everyone know how to use them without shame and fear of ridicule if they don't know how to use it?

Missing clarity on decision making within the company.

Knowing what is your decision-making domain can be such a delicate, sometimes even political question of unwritten internal rules. now it's time to move towards a transparent way of working.

Lack of clarity on the distribution of responsibility and authority.

If I asked your team members today what are they responsible for - would it coincide with what they have authority over?

Missing knowledge about the organisation, it's core purpose, vision, mission, and values.

Knowing where are we going and why is so much more important on these fragmented times. Do your people know about the foundations of the company? Are they aligned with them?

Offering clarity on all these levels might be daunting. It requires to investigate. Decide. Make decisions visible. Change one's mindset habits. And stand by what you said. And that can be scary in times when people feel uncertain about so many things.

Do you want to know how you can easily examine what is the level of clarity you and your team have?

Yes? Great!

Let's make an experiment: to assess the level of clarity you and your team currently have I invite you to go into the next virtual meeting with special glasses. Play with a new role: you will become a fly on the wall.

Dial-in and look at the meeting with the mindset of an observer. Looking at the way people sit, behave, talk, interact, what questions they ask - how much clarity do they have in the areas named above?

Do they know where is your team going?

Are they fearful and edgy? Or relaxed and playful regardless of the reality outside our (hopefully) virus-free homes?

Are you hearing everyone is getting things done easily after they hang up even with their kids interrupting their working day a gazillion times? Are they able to keep their focus regardless of the new circumstances?

Looking at the online meeting: what is the Clarity Score you would give your team on the scale 0-10?

Whatever the score, breathe in, breathe out.

If you experiment of being a 'fly on the wall' of your online meetings rose a red flag and you think to yourself .. Yaiks! I want to take care of my people better! I want all of us to feel we are in the same boat, increase innovation, and stay productive.

I want to my team to get through this remote working reality as a strong collective that will look at this experience as the best kick in the butt to start working differently.

In a healthier way... In a way that doesn't get people burnt out. Or bored out. Or disconnected and fearful.

If this is what you long for, feel invited to join this free webinar

"5 biggest mistakes of online meetings".

Wednesday, 15th April 2020 15:30-17:30 on Zoom. Sign up HERE. It's free.

I'll see you online.

Virtual hug, Neža Krek, Online Collaborations Expert

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