Remote working is increasing as a means of practising social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Led by business in response to calls from the World Health Organization, it is having a daily impact in helping manage the novel coronavirus.
Remote working is an example of a business transformation that works on multiple levels. It serves the needs of individual employees, it provides businesses with new resilient and adaptive ways to engage with their ecosystem and deliver economic value, and it serves the larger community by addressing public health needs.
It’s critical that companies have a comprehensive business-continuity plan to ensure their products and services remain available, secure, and reliable for their customers and employees. The health and safety of their employees is top priority, and many companies are closely and continually monitoring guidance provided by governments and health organizations related to the coronavirus so they can make informed decisions.
Chief information officers must have an IT strategy to help people be productive from anywhere to better enable today’s modern workforce. If they do this, they will be positioned to support remote workers with technology that allows their employees to work anywhere, anytime, from any device.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, many companies are working to support employees in working from home.
Going Digital Means More than Just Using Technology
It’s easy to be caught up by buzzwords like “digital first” or “digital by default.” But working in the digital spaces is about more than just applying digital tools and technology. It is about thinking about new behaviours and making sure everyone has the ability to use any tech tools seamlessly. For example, this could include people being conscious of how their voice projects and thinking of non-verbal cues on video conference calls.
Leaders must ask questions including: Who makes the decisions about digital technology: the CEO, the CIO or the IT team? What is the reaction or perception of joining an important meeting virtually as opposed in person? Is “face time” a key cultural norm in the organization? If people are not around in person, is there prejudice or negative bias?
Going digital may also require a level of reskilling. For example, tech company Box is sharing free training resources on cloud computing tools with its employees as they transition to working remotely.
Strengthen a Culture of Inclusion
An enabling business culture that surrounds your organization’s transition to remote working is also critical for meaningful change. Ultimately, what holds a distributed and virtual workplace together is the trust, patience and support employees have for one another.
For senior leaders, this often requires a renewed commitment to actively listening. Power dynamics don’t go away in the virtual realm. Just because people have access to a video-enabled web conferencing platform, it doesn’t mean everyone’s voices are being equally heard.
Another attribute of remote working are the number of distractions. It’s a given that professional and personal worlds will collide in the virtual realm. Staying focused, eliminating distraction and actively engaging in the moment is critical for creating a purposeful and enabling remote working culture.
Be Authentic and Engage
At the individual level is arguably where the most important changes can occur. Reducing the isolation of working remotely takes commitment from individuals at all levels of the organization.
Even more concretely, employees learned to embrace their video cameras. The power of web conferencing is the use of video. Understanding how to visually project yourself as a positive, engaging and trusted leader is a critical skill to develop.
Along with embracing your visual persona, another key area to focus on at the individual level is to be remain authentic. From a generational perspective, remote working demands a new level of individual leaders to be authentic, to openly address uncertainties and to be open with their vulnerabilities. To ensure trustworthy and purpose-driven business can be sustained on an ongoing basis, requires nothing less.
Learn together to Shape the Future of Work
Embracing remote work and virtual collaboration is one of the most impactful thing employers can do today to address the increasing complexity of the current public health and economic crisis.
Investing in a “work from anywhere, anytime, on any device” model and putting best practices like these in place benefits companies in the midst of a crisis. And it generally makes it easier for employees to be productive and effective each day. For more information on how Litcom can assist your organization and it’s employees to safely and effectively transition to a digital and remote work environment, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .