The number of people working remotely has moved from the unusual to the expected. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way in which work is done. The skill sets are different and the preparation for a successful interaction is dependent upon your ability to navigate work patterns that are totally different than before. The question is “What can I do to make the remote work group more effective?”, rather than “How can I perform more effectively at the office as an individual?” Here are some tips to consider:
DEFINE EXPECTATIONS: Two quotes are appropriate: “Adapt or Die” and “Expectations are the Great Killers”. The first quote states that unless you keep moving forward and adapt, you’ll fall behind. The second tells us if your expectations are different from your boss, co-workers, stakeholders, customers or spouse, success will allude you. This second quote is most important when working remotely: Make sure your expectations for a successful job matches the expectations of your boss and co-workers. If not, you’ll be wasting time on irrelevant matters and fall short.
IDENTIFY KEY GOALS: What is it that your supposed to achieve short and long term? Setting objectives for the day, week, month or longer is imperative so everyone is working toward the same end. Then outline responsibilities for specific outcomes for each team member, subgroup or for the total group. When completed, the cumulation of everyone’s efforts should result in the goal being met. Define specific benchmarks.
COMMUNICATIONS: If you don’t have effective communications between interactive members and as a group, the goals will be compromised. Effective communications from the boss is critical. If tasks are not clear and understood, then co-workers will be focused on different things. When a task or process is unclear, it’s imperative to surface the issue for clarification during group discussions. Communications while working remotely is many times more difficult. Office work is easier because of the side-bar conversations, body language and subtle messages which are absent while being remote. More time has to be devoted to interactions while working remotely.
INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP INTERACTIONS: Make sure you understand the responsibilities, background, information needs, type of support, and strengths and weaknesses of each co-worker. Bond individually with each co-worker so you develop an effective relationship with each one. Establish a solid connection so the enviable bump along the way becomes a task to be solved and not an interpersonal issue.
CLOSE THE GAPS: Inevitably there will be Items “falling through the crack”, but the group’s task is to keep them to a minimum. Ask each team member to jot down questions they have, issues they see, comments needing discussion, information that might be helpful or impediments that require a group consensus for solution. If everyone is open and engaging with each other, those questions or concerns will easily be resolved.
Successful remote work is a skill to be mastered. Be patient with your co-workers and seek team accomplishments for a group success.
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