As a leader it is your job to prepare for what is to come. It’s easy to focus on the urgent of the here and now, especially in a crisis. But you have to be better than that. You have to be able to rise above the everyday fray and look out to the horizon for what is coming. Your course doesn’t have to be 100% correct, but you have to steer your company safely through these rough waters towards the calm seas ahead. And you can’t do that if you’re below deck trying to bail out water.
You can start by preparing for the changes that need to be made in how your company operates.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an undeniable shift in the way work is being done in every corner of the world. Even when the stay-at-home orders are lifted, we have no idea exactly what doing business will look like when we emerge. We will not be able to simply return to normal. There is no normal to return to. And though we don’t know exactly when we’ll be able to all work together in one space again, it is never too early to start learning how to adapt to the new world of work.
Last week’s blog invited you to help your team reflect on what has been working well while they are working remotely. This week we’re encouraging you to take that knowledge and think of how you can transfer those positive aspects of working from home back into the office.
What hours of the day did people find they were the most productive? Is it possible for your office to relax the strict 9-5 schedule to allow those early birds or night owls to work while they’re most energized? Most teams will need to ensure some overlap of availability between co-workers, but, as this pandemic has shown, not everyone needs to be together all the time in order to get work done.
What have your employees learned about themselves and their work styles through all of this? Have they found ways to be more productive that they never would have expected? How can you help to recreate these conditions for them in the workplace? Do you need to create Do Not Disturb rooms? Or perhaps a common area where people can work with others around them? Don’t just jump back into the way you’ve always done things. Use this as an opportunity to improve your work space and culture to better accommodate your employees’ needs.
What forms of communication worked best? Have you instituted a more frequent meeting or check-in schedule with your employees during this period of remote work? Is that something that you need to continue even when you are co-located again? Having entire teams working a part has exposed many communication cracks for companies across the board. A system you may have thought was working before couldn’t hold up under the pressure of a distanced workforce. Take the time now to revamp that structure to prepare for re-entry.
It’s time to start working on your business and preparing to move your company forward once we’re all out of this.
Stay safe and stay healthy.