I ran a Skype coaching session earlier with the Managing Director of a fairly large organisation and, as part of the conversation, asked what he was doing to manage his business through the current Coronavirus crisis. He replied that his team work from home from time-to-time, they “have all the kit” and he was therefore treating this very much as business as usual.
We then discussed the many ways in which this is NOT business as usual, including:
- Most people normally only work from home occasionally – not for extended periods of time
- Those that do work from home generally have the office infrastructure to rely on and this is no longer the case for the vast majority
- People don’t work from home with the health and financial anxieties that we all currently have
We then developed our thinking about how we need to treat this situation differently and I thought it would be useful to share our conclusions:
- Establish a routine to check-in with people on a daily basis to ensure that they are OK and to understand how they are dealing with the situation
- Take more time to engage in conversations and work to motivate and encourage your teams
- Use technology for team calls and team conversations – just because we are working from home does not mean that we need to work alone
- Take time to check-in with customers and suppliers – they are in the same situation and will welcome the conversation.
- Trust your teams – now is not the time for micro-management or overly-controlling supervision.
- Recognise that this is a great time to learn how to manage people on outputs not activity
- Allow people time and flexibility to juggle priorities – they will not be able to work as they usually do
- Be sensitive to the changing situation and respond accordingly – we can’t make hard and fast rules
I think the over-arching messaging from this is about sensitivity and flexibility.
If in doubt, talk.