#RemoteWorking: How Leaders Can Focus On Holistic Management

The focus needs to be on continuous performance cycles and performance discussions and not only on the results achieved but also the behaviour demonstrated by the employee while working on the goals. This will help promote leadership values and behaviours in the organization


In the new normal and new world of work, based on the technological advancement and changing customer expectations and behavior, remote working is a great opportunity to be explored. Based on the nature of the products or services, organizations have the flexibility to determine what best suits for their business and stakeholders. Job role of individuals is another key aspect for determining the remote work set up which could be work from home, hybrid working, working from office, working in the field, or have floating employees based on the business need. While there are important pros and cons of remote work, each organization needs to design their remote work culture, influence, lead and manage their virtual teams.

Based on the new learnings through 2020, below are some of the tools that managers can use while designing their remote work culture:

Collaborative tools

Start with the necessity of home office for creating a productive environment. Having the right equipment helps to work remotely in an effective way such as ergonomic desk and chair; noise-cancelling headphones; strong WIFI connection and adequate lighting, just to name a few.

The technology tools enable the people to be agile, facilitates collaboration and efficiency. Investing in the right tools, training, supporting the employees to adapt will enhance the efficiency. The functionalities offered by these collaborative tools have made it possible to collaborate despite team members working from different locations. Teams can now huddle and brainstorm online, replacing meeting rooms and white boards. Projects can be discussed and approved in real-time. Common files can be stored on the cloud so that teams have access to the same information needed to make decisions or take a task ahead. As work from home becomes the norm, even more features can be added to make collaborating from home more seamless. Meetings with customers and vendors via online platforms is helping to keep businesses moving.

Employee Well-being

Moving from an office environment to a remote environment is a big change and it took some adjusting for many of us. During that time, successful organizations focused on communications, employee morale, productivity, safety, and overall well-being. Maximizing the learnings during the pandemic period, organizations should design their remote work culture, focus on the leadership behaviors of empathy, empowerment, inclusion, innovation and recognition. Managers must adapt their leadership skills to manage remote teams.

Another outcome of the pandemic are conversations around mental health. We as social beings thrive on human interaction. Feeling of isolation and mental health challenges is a reality. Overall wellbeing of employees in the workplace have progressed to include the emotional health. One of the best practices that companies have taken is to createisocial networking platforms, mental health awareness, providing professional support through psychological counsellors, wellness apps, mindfulness guidance exercises etc. Some organizations have even gone the extra mile by extending the benefits tothe families of employees, and they can even take part in the virtual employee events. With remote working, the lines between work and home tends to be blur, thus implementing some work life balance strategies will go a

long way in supporting employees. With the support of of Analytics tools, it can help provide insights to the work habits and provide tips on smarter ways of working.

Managing continuous learning

While the need to constantly keep oneself up to date on progress being made in our respective areas of specialty, acquiring new skills, leveraging newer tools and platforms etc. was already gathering steam, the pandemic pushed all of us to adopt to digital ways of working. Learning online has now become the new way to update oneself on the job. Companies have in-house learning portals that collaborate with external platforms and universities to bring some of the best courses to employees. Through these platforms’ managers can guide teams to take courses that are relevant to their respective areas or encourage them to learn about subjects that are of interest to them. The course material on these platforms are bite sized so that employees can learn a little every day and revisit module as and when required.

Performance evaluations

The performance management process needs to be adapted to suit the evolving changes in the organization. Investment in the right tool will enhance efficiency of the process and documentation. Focus needs to be on continuous performance cycle and performance discussions in which goals are reviewed and adjusted in real time by the manager and the employee. Discussions should focus not only on the results achieved, but also the behavior demonstrated by the employee while working on the goals. This will help promote leadership values and behaviors in the organization. Periodic performance conversations, formal as well as informal sessions are key for continuous assessment and these sessions will help the managers understand the barriers faced by employees and support in overcoming them. Performance coaching will help the employees enhance their overall effectiveness.

People Engagement

HR managers and team leaders were quick to adapt and move employee engagement programs and events online. Some of them are hosting coffee chats on the back of sharing experiences outside of work, webinars, podcasts, rewards and recognition programs, townhalls, games and ice breakers. All these proved to be great ways to remind employees that it is okay to take a break from work – an important factor for all of us who are extremely focused on work.

To create a successful remote working environment, designing a successful remote culture that incorporates the company values and leadership behaviors is key, post which we have the communication and collaboration tools to enhance the work environment – provided we use these tools wisely.

(The given article has inputs from Suma PN, Director HR, India and solely created for BW People)


Around The World