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Remote and Thriving

The “blended workday”, the “new future of work”, the “hybrid environment” have replaced the outdated “work-life balance” in leadership conversations. When most companies made an effective shift to remote work in 2020, they are now seeing issues that are limiting their ability to be successful. Employee engagement and connection to the mission seem low; productivity is impacted, as well as the overall capability to innovate and execute. These are directly related to the change in how employees interact. In a context where employees do not wish to come back to the office full-time, are likely scattered across countries and not tied to a specific office location, and where people managers are out of their wits on best practices to adopt, how to envision a ‘now of work’, where office utilization is redesigned, and where work, culture, and employee delight happen?

Build a clear company cadence

From strategic planning to cascading OKRs, from Agile execution to performance reviews, adopting companywide practices and processes will not only set the standard for flawless execution, but also allow to codify and plan in-person team interactions along the cycle such as kick-offs, off-sites, all-hands, and office days.

Set unprecedented standards for leadership and people management practices

Managing remote employees is not a new trend born with Covid. Global organizations have been doing it for decades. What is new are the imperatives to:

  • 1: Create a new breed of authentic people managers, equipped to deal with feelings, emotions and mental wellness as well as results and deliverables, who know how to create a sense of belonging through virtual settings.

  • 2: Define inclusive people management practices that deliver the same employee experience and opportunities, regardless of where they sit.

  • 3: No leniency for mediocre managers, even your highest revenue generating sales leader. Who gets promoted, who gets terminated, are indicators of how Leadership walks the talk.

It takes two

Flexible working is a moral contract between two parties where “bring your best self to work” has never been so meaningful.

It remains a responsibility for companies to provide an inclusive environment for employees to feel safe, be themselves, be engaged, therefore do their best work. Yet this statement also reads “People, show up”. What if the best self is also the one who is accountable, dependable, delivers results, seeks personal growth, supports others, promotes the mission, models company values, asks for help and shows vulnerability? Yes, it’s about attitude.

Assess “remotability” of roles

The reality is that some jobs lose their impact or purpose if performed remotely. Those where specific work-based equipment is needed, of course. But also, for instance, jobs that require significant supervision – interns, entry-level – and their managers. Or those demanding a high level of innovation – R&D, engineering, creatives. We can also imagine some specific projects, for some specific duration, benefiting from in-person vs remote work.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, “If you can do your job from Boulder, it can be moved to Bangalore” said Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU, public speaker and thought leader. So, if it can be moved to Bangalore, you’re probably fine staying in Boulder – unless we see there a strategic opportunity to delocalize some roles to Bangalore.

Adopting a company-wide philosophy on “remotability” will add to the Employer Value Proposition, managing expectations for both employees and candidates. Because yes, there will be a recommended baseline for office time for everyone.

Re-invent what office days look like for remote workers

Nobody wants to come to the office to be stuck in a cubicle on video calls. No breaking news here, what people miss the most with remote working is socializing with other human beings. Office days should be driven by a purposeful team agenda focusing on activities that benefit from an in-person setting vs remote: for instance, brainstorming, 1:1, mentoring, exposure to leadership, knowledge sharing, and social events.

And now about that time at home

Helping people structure their time and signal what they’re up to, designing moments and modes of working together, establishing norms and tools for communication and collaboration, creating an intentional connected culture where everyone feels they belong and want to give their best. Quiet quitting not allowed!

We are all humble learners here. Thought leaders are providing valuable insights, and businesses, from Fortune 100 to start-ups, are looking for the magic recipe to accelerate pace of business whilst balancing the needs and requests of their employees. At Mughal & McRae, we can help you envision and implement tailored solutions for your unique company.

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