A no-nonsense guide for leaders to develop an effective work-from-home strategy

Ever since the pandemic caught the world off-guard, I have seen both employers and employees alike becoming wary about their current position, their health, and their families’ well being.  Honestly, I don’t blame them. It’s never easy to get used to a sudden shift. To make this transition easy for the long run, I tried […]

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Ever since the pandemic caught the world off-guard, I have seen both employers and employees alike becoming wary about their current position, their health, and their families’ well being. 

Honestly, I don’t blame them. It’s never easy to get used to a sudden shift.

To make this transition easy for the long run, I tried developing a work-from-home strategy keeping in mind the organizational needs, our work culture, and of course my employees’ needs and preferences. I have penned down the tips that helped me develop this strategy enhancing my team’s productivity and performance. 

Effective Remote work Guide

Let’s take a look at some of the considerations: :

  • Organization’s culture and long-term benefits
  • Employees’ role in an organization 
  • Your team’s performance
  • Individual preferences 
  • Adopting tools and technology 

Yes, I know, I have emphasized culture here but that’s because I strongly believe that business goes much beyond financial risks or opportunities. Work culture and values play a vital role in sustaining the business. 

So, let’s get started. 

  1. Organization’s culture and long-term benefits

If you lead your team successfully through a crisis, you are likely to set a leadership example for the next in-line.  However, makeshift solutions like abrupt layoffs, cutting costs, that seem like a leadership imperative don’t always help the organizations in the long run. 

One must put some thoughts into questions like: 

  • Is this strategy aligning with our core values and work culture? 
  • Is it defining our ultimate goal clearly or just giving a blurred vision?
  • Does the strategy hold some credibility and define our rationale behind it? 

When you cover every realm of your culture and goals, it reflects what you stand for and how you want your firm to be known to the customers and employees, both. 

  1. Employees’ role in an organization 

Remote work is here to stay. So the strategy that we develop today will sustain us in the long term. When we are to create one, one of the most important metrics to consider is an employees’ role. Every role does not fit optimally for long-term remote work. The tasks, collaboration needs, and interdependency vary for each role. 

For example, a web developer working on an external project will require time-to-time inputs from the project manager, clients, or stakeholders. Even though a program can be developed sitting at home, the undefined regulations or the need to constantly collaborate can cause frustration. 

Thus, your strategy should cater to these 3 things regarding employees’ role: 

  • If employees can perform the task off-site
  • If the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined
  • If the role is interdependent and needs multiple inputs to succeed

These considerations will reflect how you value your employees and eventually impact your employee engagement and will decrease burnout. 

  1. Team’s performance 
Team Performance

A study from Gallup says that when a remote team is managed well, they experience higher engagement than on-site teams. I second this as I have experienced enhanced engagement within my team after we shifted to teleworking. Team members were proactive and accounted for their work during our daily stand-ups and scheduled check-ins despite time zone differences. 

That being said, every remote team does not perform equally. 

If there is disengagement and alienation amongst remote team members, it can drastically erode performance and productivity. The point being, not every team can thrive in a remote work environment since not everyone is equally comfortable in a virtual work set-up. A leader must, therefore, take care of these things before forming a virtual work strategy.  

  • Team engagement 
  • Team’s performance 
  • Trust between team members 
  • Team collaboration and coordination 

If anyone of the above-stated criteria is missing, a leader must rethink about going fully remote or revisit his or her team management skills. 

  1. Individual preferences 
Individual Preferences

Remote work is working wonders for some while it’s creating distress and worry for others. Of course, not everyone can have the same experience. Managers must take note of individual preferences regarding teleworking. Regular one-on-ones, evaluation and performance feedback can give better clarity. 

We are living in an era where firms are employee-centric and employee satisfaction is the top priority. This is a check-list I use to evaluate individual preferences: 

  • Employees’ comfort level 
  • Employees’ performance and productivity 
  • Their strengths and weaknesses 
  • Work-life balance 
  • Employee needs 

Only when you value your employees, can they value your business. 

  1. Adopting tools and technology 

Technology is the enabler and the fuel that drives remote work to success. A firm must serve their employees with the right tools and technology to make remote working a breeze. Moreover, they must train their employees to ensure the proper use of these tools, especially if you are leading a cross-generational team. 

For example, Slack or Samepage for collaboration, Avaza for remote project management, and Saviom for resource management. 

A leader must make note of the following while formulating the plan of action: 

  • If the firm has a right supply of software 
  • If the firm has a uniform enterprise plan package 
  • If the tools will help manage the projects and resources seamlessly 

Even though tech tools are vital for teleworking, adopting them is not a piece of cake for everyone. 

The round-up 

Crafting a work from home strategy to navigate through the next normal is crucial to sustaining your firm in the long run. These considerations will help you build an efficient remote work plan and lead better. 

Your organizational culture and employees’ experience form the core of your business and sets you apart from the rest. Leaders must, therefore, do everything in their might to practice a policy where none of these values is compromised. These are testing times, but also an opportunity for you to showcase your ability to influence and inspire. 
After all, ‘a leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’- John Maxwell.

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