By Leslie Grossman, Founder, Circle Leadership
Welcome to the Remote Work Revolution. Forces out of our control – the pandemic – moved us powerfully into this new world of work. Unless you are in a service business, like food, dining, leisure activity, retail, children’s education, etc. that require being live and in living color to do your job, you most likely do most of your work at home or remotely, wherever you happen to be during your typical work hours. Even doctors, therapists and exercise instructors are working at least partially remote. And it’s never going back to the 95% in-person that it was in 2019.
Is this good? In some ways yes, and in other ways not so good….That’s why I’m voting for the hybrid workplace as the ideal scenario for the many office workers who used to commute to their desks daily. On the surface it may look great for women who are Moms and a few helpful Dads, but for most women early or mid-career, full-out remote work could be career suicide and set us back 50 years, unless we learn new behaviors. (More on that in a future blog.)
Whether you are working remotely, and prefer to keep it that way, or showing up at the office occasionally, it all comes with serious challenges. These challenges can be addressed with real solutions. But one thing is very clear: If you lead and manage people the same way you did in the OLD – almost antiquated – in-the-office daily routine, you are going to lose more good people - especially women - and your culture and productivity will suffer.
If your organization has a culture that was based on working in-person, be prepared to change or lose. Those who were ahead of the curve, figured out effective remote solutions a long time ago. But no one was interested back then in how they did it. People like Sharon Emek, Inner Circle member and CEO of WAHVE, launched her company in 2010, with her entire team spread out across the country. In fact, WAHVE’s entire concept is a talent solution that engages professionals “phasing” into retirement who work remotely from home on a contract basis. Or how about Christine Merser, also of the Inner Circle and CEO of Blue Shoe Content which she founded in 1993? She leads a marketing and advertising agency with a focus on content creation, which from the get-go, had employees working remotely in more than 10 states.
Sharon and Christine figured it out and now you and your company needs to do that, too, or face the consequences. I have added an entire segment to the curriculum I teach to executive women leaders, at GWU’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership, and at Circle Leadership, my new training company for coaches and HR people, on how to address the leadership changes needed in the new Remote Workplace Revolution.
I’ll be writing more about this and sharing solutions in future posts, but for now, let me give you a few questions to answer:
• How are you keeping up the morale of your team?
• Is your team bonding like they used to do?
•What is your strategy for a hybrid workplace? Could those working remotely suffer from proximity bias?
• How are you helping your people manage stress?
• How are you keeping them motivated?
• What are you doing to keep people engaged at online meetings?
• How much access do you give your team to you and to each other?
• Are some of your people becoming ‘voiceless’ while others never stop shouting, especially at online meetings?
Watch for my next post, where I’ll share the solutions I’ve gathered from the experts who are working on this. In the meantime, give the questions I posed some thought. And remember the workplace is never going back to the way it was. Stop waiting for that to happen and get on to creating a remote work culture that works for your people and your organization in the new Remote Work Revolution. I’d love to hear from you with solutions you have already started, how they are going and ideas you are considering. Happy Revolution! By Leslie Grossman, Founder, Circle Leadership