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5 simple habits of leaders who make ‘work from home’ really work

Does your management style really drive progress in a Covid-ravaged world?

Although remote work was on the rise long before the current global crisis made it a necessity, everyone today is realizing the need to prepare teams to work virtually for the long haul.

9 out of 10 organisations have encouraged their employees to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Gartner. Leading tech-first companies like Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, TCS, Airtel and Shopify are even preparing some if not their entire workforce to work remotely indefinitely.

While most of us have been working virtually for a few months now, it certainly hasn’t gotten any easier. From ‘Zoom fatigue’, to feeling the need to be ‘always on-line’, to inadvertently micro-managing one’s team, more and more teams seem to be struggling with the new normal.

The pressures might not ease up, but here are a few things you can start doing as a team leader to nurture remote-friendly, high performing and impact-focused virtual workplaces:

Rhythm: Is the daily rhythm of work working for everyone?

With the new work day being 3 hours longer for home bound employees according to a recent study by Davis and Green, people are feeling more burnt out and anxious than ever before.

As a leader, it’s helpful to redefine the cadence and nature of team communication, ensuring synchronous check-ins while giving team members more flexibility around how to structure their days.

High performing teams report benefitting from quick daily sync-ups and longer weekly team meetings/standups. Successful team leaders also make time for one-on-one check-ins at least once a month and discuss not only employee progress but the overall employee experience as well.

#1 To-Do: This week, try setting up well planned recurring check-ins with your team and block calendars for a fixed time to monitor your team’s progress against goals while encouraging a sense of autonomy.

Reporting: are you falling prey to micro-management?

While you might already be outlining priorities and establishing clear goals with your team, it is also important to break down these larger goals into specific tasks with accountabilities so as to track progress, build transparency and drive coordination virtually.

Although initial studies encouraged managers to err on the side of over-communication, 65% of team leaders across industries surveyed by the University of North Carolina reported extensive meetings actually prevent them from completing their own work.

To give your team members more control over when and how they connect with their coworkers, encourage your team to frequently document their progress when they are ‘disconnected’. This way, you can utilise team wide check-ins smartly to enable self-management within your team, offer a sounding board to solve problems, and leverage the collective intelligence of the team as a whole.

#2 To-Do: Try out a better collaboration and check-in tool this week, from basic shared Google Docs to the more nuanced Mesh.

Recognition: a little thanks goes a long way

If celebrating our healthcare and essential workers has reminded us of anything, it is that recognition and appreciation are more important now than ever before.

Insufficient employee recognition at work has been proven to damage business results, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why. (Speaking of rocket scientists, any thoughts on the SpaceX launch this weekend?)

n one poll by Interact/Harris, 63% of 1,000 U.S. knowledge workers claimed they were not adequately recognized for their achievements. This need is only heightened in the socially distanced, virtual workplace.

Social recognition goes a long way in boosting employee morale – and usually starts a chain reaction of positive reinforcement further motivating employees to achieve their targets!

#3 To-Do: Recognise at least one person for a job well done today – start with a simple Kudos on a social group but advance to a more long lasting and value adding platform like Mesh – the socially powered, team management network!

Recovery: physical distancing doesn’t need to mean emotional distancing

While remote-work might be the future of work, working remotely in a crisis is certainly unprecedented and everyone is adapting to their own unique circumstances at home.

From something as simple as choosing an asynchronous check-in over an intrusive phone call or going tech-free on Sundays, to something as exciting as a social happy hours over Zoom on Friday evenings, you can do a lot more to improve the work-life balance of your team members right now than you initially thought possible.

#4 To-Do: On your next check-in, ask everyone one thing you could do to make their work day easier. The answers might surprise you!

Designed for today’s workforforce, Mesh makes it easy to manage goals, share recognition and conduct check-ins effectively. Sign up for Mesh today and help your team transition successfully into the realm of remote work.

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