Establish the culture you believe in (Part 4)
Remove roadblocks! Remote work will undoubtedly require new ways of doing things such as completing standard forms or logging time or getting help for technology challenges. To the extent possible, provide access to and encourage direct communication between your employees and any service providers you use that help your employees get things done. Employ the KIS rule: KEEP IT SIMPLE. If you expect your employees to reach out for help to an external provider, require that you are copied. This very simple technique allows you to stay in the loop but not have to be the loop to help employees get their problems solved. If you opt for this approach, it’s also a good idea to work with your service providers upfront to let them know how things might be changing in the new environment. Add to this that a monthly “check-in” with your service providers is a nice touch that lets you get a synopsis of what events have occurred since the last time you checked in and any longer-term improvements that might make things easier - and faster - for your employees.
As a business owner/leader moving a team from brick-and-mortar to remote work, you will be tempted to ask for periodic status reports in lieu of your ability to walk down the hallway and pop your head in the office and ask for a current update. Avoid the temptation to define a complex approach that takes time to produce, will likely not get read (heck, will you have the time to read all your employees' reports?), and worse, will result in little to no meaningful feedback to the employee. Instead, ask your employees to suggest ways to reduce virtual paperwork but still provide effective ways for reporting status. While some tools (e.g. Atlassian’s Jira tool) have built-in dashboards that business owners can customize to get a quick glimpse of everything happening around the company, companies making the rapid shift from brick-and-mortar to remote work environments may need something more creative. One way that employees have demonstrated status was to create storyboards that they photograph with their phones and then send out via email. After all, pictures say a 1000 words! The key here is to ask your employees to get you what you need (information regarding status) rather than tell them how to get it to you (detailed reports, forms). The only requirement: you should be able to get the high notes and major challenges in 30 seconds or less.
We’d love to hear from you what roadblocks you and your teams have removed as you’ve implemented the KIS approach. What has and hasn’t worked? What would you do differently next time? Let us know if you’d like more ideas in this arena and give us a call or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.