It’s no secret that remote work will play a long-term role in most organizations post-Pandemic. Some organizations handled that transition over the last year well, and others not so much. To everyone’s credit, it was a scramble. Finding new ways of working amid restrictions that we’ve never encountered. Most organizations were forced to shift their strategy to survive. Over the past year, numerous studies have taken place on remote work.
Here are 3 stats/facts about remote work and why I think they matter.
Deloitte's 2021 Human Capital Trends Report indicates the 3 most important factors in making remote/virtual work sustainable are:
It’s no surprise that new collaboration platforms, making it easier to communicate is top on this list. Some companies were already doing this well. And we’ve also learned that several were lagging in this space. What is notable is digital collaboration platforms. Not existing platforms that we’ve been able to use as a “band-aid”. But platforms that were truly meant for digital collaboration. Many options exist. Mural is one that I have used and found easy to learn.
Allowing personal choice and establishing new meeting norms will create a need for greater trust across teams. Organizations that allow remote work are going to have to be flexible in how work gets done. With the Pandemic, many employees got their first taste of autonomy. And not because the organization wanted it that way. Many were forced for different reasons.
Build trust with your teams by having more frequent conversations with each other. The mode can and should vary. It doesn’t need to be a 1:1 Zoom call every day. Better communication will breed trust. Understand each other’s needs for flexibility. We’re human, we all have them. Put them on the table. From a leadership perspective, share concerns. Have a conversation about what flexibility means for your team.
23% of leaders say they aren’t effective at all at leading virtual teams.
From DDI's 2021 Global Leadership Forecast. This number seems low. Think about it. Almost a quarter of those surveyed admitted they were not effective at leading virtual teams. I’m guessing several more may not have been completely honest. And several where this could be a blindspot.
Remote work is here to stay. Upskilling the digital acumen of incumbent leaders is more important than ever. We’ve joked about senior leaders not being able to open a PDF. An extreme example but you get my point. It’s not a joke anymore. This type of digital ignorance is not acceptable.
At the same time, we need more bridges for emerging leaders. People struggled in office when going from individual contributor to leader. That struggle will follow in remote work. Tools that promote collaboration and teamwork will be key. Make it easier for leaders to work with a dispersed group. This takes intentionality from the organization. You need to systematically integrate remote work into your business and talent strategies.
Fewer than 30% of leaders said they had ever received development for the ability to lead virtually, or digital acumen.
Also from DDI's 2021 Global Leadership Forecast. When seeing this stat, my first reaction was: why are we waiting to be told what to learn? And then I remembered that we have all this other stuff we need to learn too! Without placing importance on learning something new, it is not likely that people are going to take up learning it. Unless it’s something they were passionate or curious about prior.
Organizations scrambled in the move to remote work at the start of the Pandemic. They made use of available, turn-key resources and adjusted over time. Now that we’re a year into this thing, you can’t turn around without hitting a “how to lead remote” article. I’ve shared several on LinkedIn myself.
Now is a good time to attempt a skills inventory on your people. We know leading virtually and digital acumen are needed. Upskilling leaders in these areas will be critical. And we need to know the other gaps. Not for today, but for the future. How do our current skills line up with our long-term strategy? Where do we need to upskill or reskill? Do we need to reframe how we hire for certain roles?
Do you need guidance with your remote work strategy?
JMM Advisory Group helps you develop high-performing leaders that drive results - no matter the climate. Using tools and workshops powered by The Predictive Index, we help unleash the potential of your managers and teams. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how we help you and your peers grow as leaders, motivate your team, and free up your schedule.
JMM Advisory Group is a talent strategy consulting firm that employs the best talent optimization tools to help organizations hire the right people, manage and inspire them to achieve maximum business results as fast as possible.