Originally posted on May 18, 2020
The future is remote!
That’s the business battlecry as more companies extend office shutdowns and companies commit to WFH as the new normal.
In spite of the exhausting nature of working/teaching/sheltering at home, demands are being balanced because we all have a shared struggle at the moment.
What happens when WFH choice replaces WFH necessity?
I’d suggest that the future success of WFH will be dictated by the ability to Manage From Home (MFH). Having managed remote teams for two decades now, I’d offer up these critical points for starting to think about how to manage from afar.
1. Personal Communication is about the recipient. Managers must adjust to individual preferences (phone, email, Slack, text) to maximize individual performance.
2. Tone & Temperament don’t translate. Say what you mean, don’t make people guess. If your management style involves hovering and yelling, you are not built for a world with easy emotional and physical distancing.
3. Maximize performance thru boundary setting. It’s easy when home is also the office to fire off a quick email with a simple question on a weekend. If that’s the exception not the rule then you put people constantly on call. Show people your respect and maximize productivity by operating inside sensible work boundaries.
4. Team First. People need people and performance comes from building each other up. Spend your group meeting time focused on shared collaboration and celebration vs individually focused details.
5. More, More, Less – Your ability to better set expectations, provide the right tools and build trust through actions is even more critical. Create more touch points for more support but for less overall time. Some people need structured 30 min weekly 1:1s while others want more frequent, less formal check ins. Learn individual needs and give that to them.
Remote management is a highly underdeveloped skillset. It takes time and effort to build those muscles. Start doing the heavy lifting now.