Author: Jan Joubert, Rainmaker Solutions
This month the true extent and severity of the Coronavirus pandemic hit all of us.
As a result, remote working is being widely enforced. Housing associations and many other organisations have, in the space of only a few weeks, had to make changes to their working practices and IT platforms that it normally would take years to transition to. They are having to quickly adapt to new ways of working in an uncertain world, while employees are also dealing with self-isolation, tech issues, childcare and perhaps increasing anxiety.
Covid-19 has thrust us into physical isolation and physical distancing. Organisations need to ensure that their new working practices are designed to prevent it being social isolation too. Many tools support remote working, but there can be a very large gap between the ability to work remotely and effectively collaborating and Working out Loud with your team. This gap is driven by behaviours and ways of working.
Email chains, phone conversations or conference calls are not easily manageable and sustainable in the longer term, frankly they haven’t been for years. Current in-office work practices don’t directly translate into remote working, and need some thinking to evolve into new and effective ways of working. However, the future of work is about outcomes, not time or location.
Tools and approaches need to be put in place that not only support flexibility in location, but also in availability or time of day. Creating effective ways of sharing thoughts, ideas, approaches and information that are light touch and easily accessible to everyone at any time starts to become hugely important.
Teams will need the ability to have ongoing conversations everyone can access whilst working on projects collaboratively in real time, and that’s where Working out Loud, strong guiding principles and solid core values come in.
To ensure business continuity and service level agreements are maintained and even improved it is vital to:
Maintain morale and wellbeing
Ensure focused attention and check ins to help staff feel supported. Also, you should hold planned and ad-hoc social activities to remove feelings of isolation, such as virtual drinks, team Zwift rides or remote yoga classes. Proactively encourage mental wellbeing/ health checks ins. Ensure the effectiveness and connection of your people, not just your comms.
Create positives from extended remote working
Unlock the concept of work being about time and space. Rapidly adopt the mindset shift to work being about outcomes. Use the myriad of great tools out there, such as Slack and Teams, to support effective collaboration and team management. If done well, you can really tap into your team’s hive mind.
Iterate existing and future working practices
Make the technology and approach simple to adopt, in this day and age, even in the midst of this crisis, it is easy to do. Encourage your people to create new and inspiring ways to maintain productivity and actively seek out ways to change approaches to match the changing situation we find ourselves in. Experiment, iterate and adapt.
The world of work has changed forever and all organisations must adapt in order to survive and continue providing critical services to users.