Enterprise

3 Tips to virtualizing an organization for long-term flexible working

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Posted
September 8, 2020
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2 minutes

As many organizations implement their longer-term remote working strategies, adopt these three practices to make sure you are set up for successful flexible working.

Having formed new habits around remote work, many of us have settled into new routines and habits, adjusting to the shift, and integrating this new way of working into our lives. But in the scramble to equip teams with the day-to-day tools needed to maintain business continuity, what bigger organizational processes have you missed? A lot of new ways of working have been deployed in rapid response, but to truly maximize the benefits of long-term flexible working, organizations must focus on bigger change management.

With 73% of CFOs in a PWC global study seeing flexible working as something that will actually make their organizations better in the long run, here are three tips to help you effectively set your organization up for long term remote or flexible working.

Convert your knowledge and information

A lot of social, cultural, and organizational sets of information are implicit, or learned in the corridors of a business. When your organization goes remote, this information needs to be written and shared. Create a guide to these social codes that covers all employees. With your HR functions, plan out clear results-based expectations of performance measures for remote workers. Make it clear what the behavioural norms and expectations are between home and office working.

Scale up your communications

One downside to working from home is the loss of watercooler moments and spontaneous interactions, including non-verbal communication that takes place in the office. Because all meeting time is scheduled, we lose these more organic types of conversations. Try setting up more frequent feedback loops, daily team stand-ups, and specific check-ins to make sure that each individual is well adjusted.

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Accelerate organizational trust

Trust is more challenging to foster in distributed teams, but there are ways to nurture this and ensure it is healthy in the long term. Managers need to make sure that they are transparent, avoid micromanaging and focus on output over time. Open your calendars, so that people can see when you’re free and available to speak. Advocate social interactions; these non-work interactions will build trust and deliver returns by accelerating the pace of project teamwork.

Now, more than ever, organizations need new tools and cultural practices to operate in times of flexible working and distributed teams. Having a robust plan in place to encourage a change in culture around flexible working is key to its success. With these steps in place, you should start to see the productivity benefits of your new ways of working in no time.

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