Since the beginning of the pandemic there’s been a thread going around semi-jokingly asking people to check on their extrovert friends because they are not OK without malls and gobs of social interaction. Then there’s introverts like me, who always work from home, aren’t shoppers and have plenty of online friends that pick our head up now and then and say “oh right, there’s a pandemic. I forgot.” We’re just not that social.
The same concern should be had for many managers. They aren’t OK. They are struggling with how to manage people when they can’t see the people. There are no shoulders to look over. They are no details to obsess over. They are having trouble finding their value as managers because they are used to obsessing over details, holding meetings, peering over shoulders, and much of that is difficult to do with a distributed workforce.
It’s not that the details don’t exist or don’t need to be obsessed over. Often, they do. But many managers once promoted feel disconnected from the actual production of work and lose the big picture and the visibility into the work product. It requires a lot of trust to manage a remote workforce. Trust that they’ll do the job right, self-correct problems and stay on task.
Workers that do stay on task have increased productivity when working from home, but it takes a modern style of management based on work output. You’re also going for quality interactions that make everyone feel part of the whole rather than isolated at home. Part of the modern managers job is now team building and communication whereas much of that took place organically when people were in the office bumping into one another.
How do you know your work from home staff are working? That’s the topic that we’re going to be talking about next Friday from 9-10am. We’ve invited a couple of our clients that have been remarkably successful, we’ll bring in our own examples and then each of the attendees will have an opportunity to get some advice from the other attendees. These mastermind style groups can be amazingly effective. I hope that you’ll join us next week.
If you’d like to attend, please reply then I’ll send you a calendar invitation to the online meeting. It’ll be well worth an hour of your time.
-Amy Babinchak, President, Harbor Computer Services