The coronavirus pandemic has affected us in different ways, and one of the biggest changes for office-based workers is the shift to working from home (WFH). When COVID-19 hit, many office-based teams had to scramble to let people work from home for the first time. We often talk about our frontline healthcare workers as heroes in this healthcare crisis (and rightly so), but often forget the IT heroes who rushed to create the WFH infrastructure to help in the economic crisis.
If you’re a team leader or manager facing a WFH environment for the first time, you might wonder how to transfer your leadership skills and experience to a remote or hybrid workplace. It’s not easy! So many of the things you take for granted in an office environment just aren’t there when your team is dispersed across town, and it’s especially difficult when you’re forced into this situation because of COVID-19.
Hang in there – it’s worth it!
You might be experiencing the challenges of leading a WFH team for the first time. Of course you need to make it work now, so you can create a culture where your team members are productive, collaborative, innovative, and inspired.
This isn’t easy, but rest assured all your hard work isn’t in vain. The WFH environment is just one step on the journey to the workplace of the future. When your mindset changes from the traditional office routine of 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday, working with people who just happen to be within commuting distance of the office, new opportunities arise.
For example, in August 2019, Microsoft Japan offered its 2,300+ staff a four-day work week, and productivity soared by 40%.
On a smaller scale, in 2018, trust management company Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand ran a similar experiment, and reported greater work satisfaction and better work-life integration.
Even during the pandemic, innovative companies are taking the lead. In July, global industrial giant Siemens announced it will allow employees to work from wherever they want for two or three days a week. As Deputy CEO, Roland Busch, said:
“We trust our employees and empower them to shape their work themselves so that they can achieve the best possible results.”
This isn’t only for a privileged few; it applies to all of Siemens’ 140,000 employees in 43 countries around the world.
10 Long-Term Benefits of Making WFH Work
If you’re still not convinced, here are 10 benefits you will get in the future by building that WFH culture now:
- Attract the best people, not just those who happen to be local.
- Create customised learning journeys, tailored to individual requirements.
- Measure and reward performance based on results and outcomes.
- Promote better work/life integration.
- Go digital and create a paperless office.
- Build fluid teams, bringing the best people together for each project.
- Leverage lost talent, such as parents who want to work part-time or people who left because their partner relocated.
- Throw out standard office hours and allow flexible working hours.
- Engage experts as required – from anywhere around the world.
- Save costs on office infrastructure.
So, making WFH work is not only about WFH – it’s about getting ahead of the game for building the workplace of the future.
Trust me – it’s worth it.
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The best people have a choice of places to work. Why will they choose you?