Leading From a Distance: Boost Workplace Morale From Anywhere
For 30 years, my main motivation as a leader and entrepreneur has been the certainty of facing new challenges, finding solutions, and overcoming them as a team. To date, the global pandemic has been the most challenging crisis our company has faced. How can we navigate these trying times? In which ways can we help slow the spread of COVID-19? Should we abandon our current business processes, policies, and procedures until things get back to normal? How do we lead employees post-covid?
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that businesses are innovative, powerful forces — made up of inventors, designers, dreamers, and doers. As a project management software company, it is my strong belief that collaboration tools can be a huge part of the solution. By addressing our skills with the ongoing problems, we can work toward creating the type of workplace we all need during this time of uncertainty. That’s where we can make a difference.
The Future of the Workplace is Remote
While the shift to remote working was already well underway, the pandemic has certainly put the work-from-home trend on a fast track. As restrictions ease, we wonder if “business as usual” will look, well, usual.
Nearly two years after the start of the pandemic, it has become clear that this will be the situation for a while yet. Like many other companies navigating the uncertainties of the times, we have been revamping our processes to ensure we work better together even when we’re apart. Of course, it’s a learning curve. There are still so many questions. What are the new expectations for turnaround? How flexible should the workday be; which hours should everyone be present? Which channels are appropriate for which types of conversations? What does a meeting now look like? It might take some figuring out, but remote working is here to stay. It will continue to grow and bring new opportunities for business application developers and those in the technology sector.
When we think about the future of the office, we imagine an environment where employees can work from wherever they perform best, whether that’s at home or in the office. For some, that might mean coming into the office a couple of days a week, while others may only come in for an occasional meeting.
Whichever working arrangement employees prefer, we want to ensure that it contributes to their overall well-being and productivity. We aim to be flexible – if we can take better care of ourselves, we can take better care of our clients.
Digital is The Best Solution
As we too adjust to the new way of working, we’re also granted the opportunity to reimagine the workplace, rethink our priorities, and reevaluate our values.
While there are still many unknowns about the future of the workplace, I can say with certainty that siloed communication, archaic systems, and disengaged employees are not going to help a company hit the ground running.
In this day and age, we need technology that connects people as well as the digital tools we use daily. Effective communication should be a top priority for any type of business that is dependent on collaboration, from small startups to enterprise companies. This is how work gets done. Businesses that invest in new technology will see major improvements in terms of output and employee happiness, compared to those using out-of-date systems.
As a leader, it is my responsibility to give my employees everything they need to get the job done. Now more than ever, we need ways to engage in real-time conversation with team members by commenting on ongoing tasks and sharing files, ideas, comments, and more. The health and well-being of my employees are very important to me and I feel it is my duty to make sure they work in the best possible conditions.
For a large number of us, the perimeters between our personal and professional lives have been obscured due to the continuous pandemic. Consequently, it can be challenging to keep motivated while telecommuting. The absolute best approach to avoid burnout is by empowering employees to put their mental and physical well-being first. That means setting actual limits, like not checking messages on weekends or getting completely off-screen after nightfall. Working constantly will just prompt burnout over the long haul. We need to set aside time for fun, family, and friends.
It’s also important to make expectations clear across the board. Especially these days when it’s considerably challenging to understand what the ideal work pace should be with everyone is in different places and time zones. Some employees might feel like they’re putting in more hours than other teams or getting more work than they can handle. Without clear benchmarks and deadlines, employees aren’t going to feel rewarded or fulfilled. In fact, they might wind up doing a bunch of work that ends up not mattering or working overnight on a project that isn’t actually urgent. Is there anything more demoralizing?
Not everyone is going to take to the work-from-home routine right away. With the added autonomy can come additional disruptions. While being able to work from wherever offers freedom and flexibility, it also opens doors to new distractions. And while there is no shortage of tips for remote working on the internet, good processes and documentation are an essential part of putting the advice to action.
An added bonus that comes with project management software is the time tracking feature, which allows us to analyze and compare productivity, focus, and output from home against the office. When management can understand productivity, they can help their team better juggle responsibilities and tasks while working from home. Moreover, I invite and encourage employees to propose alternative working styles. This is new for everyone. I see no fault in a flexible arrangement that is beneficial for both the company and the individual. It’s a win-win in my book.
Most Importantly, Take Care of Each Other
Of course, I wish the pandemic never happened, but the new challenges that the current world situation brings are a source of motivation for me. And while I take great pride in my ability to tackle complex issues quickly, I know I need to remain humble in order to recognize my errors and continue to learn. Being a visionary means being imaginative and creative, yet this is only possible when you are open to learning with and from others.
It goes without saying that we must be empathetic during these times. This crisis isn’t over. Workers are still getting their footing, which means they may have off days or not be as productive as they once were. Despite all the aiding technology, now is the time to be human — we must take care of each other. Call me optimistic, but I believe we can use what we learned from this pandemic to be more compassionate, innovative, and connected.