Every organization is struggling with the same thing.
We’ve been thrust into a remote workplace environment.
You might’ve had some team members who were already working remotely, but now your entire leadership structure is working remotely because of the current crisis that we’re in.
Many organizations were not prepared to deal with a remote workplace culture.
It leads to significant leadership challenges.
There are leaders on your team who you’re used to seeing every day.
You’re used to bouncing ideas off of them.
You have a structure where you meet internally about the challenges you face.
But now, they’re all working from home.
You don’t really have a structured environment anymore.
It’s hard to have your team members have a structured environment when they’re working from home.
They could end up facing social isolation, feeling really alone.
Work was a place where they found camaraderie and connection with people.
Now that they’re working from home, they’re starting to feel isolated.
When people are isolated, it’s hard to maintain rapport with the team.
Another thing that’s starting to creep in and create some challenges is burnout.
Working from home may seem easier, but there are people who are working 12-hour days because they’re in back-to-back virtual meetings.
That makes it hard for them to set any pace of work.
It’s devastating to have this happen.
But the biggest thing that is happening is the organization’s culture is being destroyed.
Whatever culture you have built to keep people engaged, motivated and keep your business moving in the right direction, you’re losing it.
This hurts productivity.
It’s going to hurt any metric that you’re focused on.
That’s why it’s important for you to learn what it takes to be a great digital leader.
Here is how you can build a world-class digital culture and become a phenomenal digital leader.
- Focus on technology.
People get sent to work from home, but there’s no assessment of their technology.
How strong is your teams at home Wi-Fi connection?
Do they have cell reception in their home?
Do they have a laptop with all of the necessary inputs?
Do they have a scanner or a printer?
These are things you need to know.
If you want to build a world-class digital culture, you have to invest in technology.
You have to be the leader that equips your team with the tools they need to be successful at home.
Some people will already have these tools and you’ll just have to augment what they don’t have.
The amount of time and money you spend making sure your team is equipped to work remotely will pay you 10-fold in productivity.
Invest in the technology.
2. Give your people space.
When people work from home, they can no longer divorce themselves from their children, pets, spouse or the environment they’re in.
You’ve got to create space to allow them to dive into those areas before they become distractions.
Create the space for people to be able to connect with their spouse and their kids.
Give them the time and space to take breaks during the workday.
Instead of the standard eight-hour workday that you’ve been expecting, allow them to expand their work day to about 10 hours.
That way, they can take a break every hour to connect with the family in their home.
If you give them that space, they will feel more valued.
They’ll feel more respected and that you are actually in tune with their challenges.
3. Schedule check-ins.
Although you want to give your team space, you can’t have people absentmindedly spending two or three hours with their family.
You have to make sure they’re being productive.
I would advise you to have a regularly scheduled check-in.
Most organizations do a one-hour staff meeting once a week.
That’s how they check in on major projects and figure out what people are doing that week.
A week is an awfully long time for someone to be working remotely in their home and not hear from their leader.
I encourage you to create a schedule for a 15-to-20-minute check-in with your team, every day.
If nothing else, it would be to find out if they are having challenges that they need help overcoming.
But at a maximum, this will be an opportunity for you to have daily interaction that kind of replicates the interaction you have in an office.
And if you have intense work and difficult challenges, you may want to create a 30-minute check-in.
4. Build teams of two.
You want to build teams of two in your organization.
Working from home can be very isolating and people can feel like they’re not connected to anyone at work.
You have to replicate a framework where people can be connected to their team members.
Put your entire team into pairs of two as accountability partners.
Never assign a project to just one person.
This will give your team a reason to check in with each other.
They don’t have to do it by video, but they have to in some way.
5. Encourage fun.
Participate in some fun time with your team.
Set up a video meeting where you’re not talking about work.
You’re actually going to have hangout time.
Allow your team to share about their new life, at least once a week.
Some people may not want to talk about their home life.
But the fact that they’re in their homes now having to work, they’ve given us a window into their lives.
This is the opportunity for you to create a space where they can share whatever is important to them.
What’s one great thing about being at home with their family?
What’s one big challenge that they have?
What’s one pastime that they do to engage with their children or family?
These are the kinds of questions you want to ask.
6. Encourage work-life balance.
Work-life balance is something that’s easily lost when you blur the lines between work and home.
Working for home means that people are going to lose that work-life balance.
You must set boundaries, and reinforce them as a leader.
Make sure that your team is not working past 7:00 PM in the evenings.
Make sure your team is taking time to exercise.
Make sure they’re getting out to see what’s going on in the world.
Maybe even encourage a new hobby.
If you want to build a world-class digital culture, you have to do all of these things for your team.
You will build more loyalty, commitment, and increased productivity.
You’ll minimize the isolation and the challenges of remote working.