The movement to remote working is not expected to be reversed any time soon. It is simply less costly and much more productive, if you know how to manage it.
A crisis, one more powerful than 9/11 or the Great Recession is causing widespread economic consequences that most small companies, here and around the world were unprepared to manage. Blindsided on all important fronts, from our leaders to our own complacency around business contingency, or continuity planning; this whole period has taught us all a very costly lesson, preparation is the best assurance of sustainability.
Some businesses have adapted well to virtual operations for some or all of their workers. These are the companies with formal operational procedures and a more trusting culture. It is much easier to make the transition to remote operation as a healthy, progressive company, one with invested employees, clear objectives and inspired leadership.
Be that progressive company
Businesses lacking a strong, operationally stable core will have more difficulty in the future. Many small business owners are experiencing a strong “sinking feeling,” that they should adjust to a very “different” future. Well, they must! The trends and changes, both difficult and inspiring will be leveraged by all business sectors for their efficiency alone.
We hear a lot of concerns from employers about productivity and trust. The simple answer is, if your employees were marginally productive before, they will continue to be. On the other hand, productive, well-focused teams are generally led by owners that are inspiring communicators running proactive businesses. Replicating the communication and efficiency of a team is dependent on several operational and leadership components. These adjustments in practice, along with one’s own perspective, can quickly turn the fear of remote into better and more productive.
The most recent data indicates more economic and cultural adjustments lay ahead. Here are some action steps clients are taking now in support of a hybrid operational future:
- Document processes – At its most basic, business is two things, 1) your offering and, 2) optimized support systems. Consider making all the necessary big changes, as well as small adjustments to your offering. Understand that documentation of functions and processes come before optimization. Processes include business development, operational efficiency, culture development, and progressive leadership.
- Providing at-home staff the necessary technology hardware, interactive software, highspeed Internet and security systems required for best performance.
- Working from home requires employee and manager to make adjustments. Allowing time for everyone to figure out how to balance work and private life is important.
- Hire better staff, or retrain the people you have. The objective is to be more effective, responsive and efficient.
- Document job descriptions in granular detail. Create recruiting, hiring and employee review processes. Include achievable productivity goals, then measure the output.
- Build trust between staff and management. This is the most important two-way street to eliminating problems. It will contribute to increasing employee buy-in and retaining good people.
- Frequently hold virtual team sessions to review company performance, problems and solutions. Provide recognition, while reinforcing goals and company objectives.
- Do the same in one-to-one meetings and reviews. Make a point of reinforcing your company’s goals and objectives in these meetings as well.
Since 1999, after multiple corporate assignments, I have assisted over 200 small businesses to find more customers, operate more efficiently, and lead more inspired teams. My experience with family-in-business and partnership challenges has helped to relieve and properly direct resolutions in these delicate matters.
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