Remote Work Driving Digital Transformation
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Remote Work Driving Digital Transformation

Those who weren’t quite prepared as far as providing more flexible options for their employees are now having to scramble to put in place systems and maintain workflows needed to keep their team on the same page and thus productive. Unfortunately, many were just not ready for the remote work challenge that the coronavirus put before the world. In a recent interview published in the Harvard Business Review, Naylor Fitzhugh professor Tsedal Neeley explained that because of the unprecedented “scale and scope” of what we’re seeing in terms of this immediate cultural transition, countless organizations were “not set up for this.” As a result, employees are feeling scattered and lost.

Everything from work productivity to emotional and mental health is at stake here, as businesses across the globe take on the learning curve associated with this new working-from-home paradigm that has been thrust upon them in the wake of this pandemic. Perhaps Neeley said it best when she likened the new employee experience to that of being “extracted from the mothership.” Indeed, for many workers, they are suddenly finding themselves on their own remote island; the key is figuring out how to keep communication and collaboration front and center during these difficult times.

Some Of The Challenges Businesses Face As They Shift To A Remote Work Mentality

The tools are out there. Platforms, such as Zoom, Slack and Hangouts, make checking in, meeting and collaborating incredibly easy. Even if prior to this world crisis, a company was not reliant upon these types of resources, the fact that they now have to be is not necessarily a bad thing. Adaptability in this era of digital transformation is critical. And while leaders have been forward-thinking in terms of how to best enact such change, the actual execution has been troublingly slow.

So yes, the coronavirus is now speeding up the process of technological transformation and consequently, compelling many companies to confront their digital shortcomings. Such challenges especially as pertaining to a newly remote workforce include:

  • A drop in overall productivity. The psychological aspect of employees being isolated from one another, not to mention, isolated within their own homes cannot be ignored in regard to productivity.
  • Lack of shared knowledge when it comes to what a certain task/project requires.
  • Managers not keeping in touch with employees and falling short when it comes to offering the necessary support.

It’s a matter of adopting the tools and platforms to keep stakeholders connected, of ensuring that constant communication becomes the norm, and that information is gathered, utilized and shared accordingly so that the end result of this shift to remote work is not just a haphazard experiment but a positive experience that will come to redefine the way a company operates.

4 Steps Leaders Can Take to Make Remote Work More Effective

Just because we are seemingly in crisis mode, doesn’t mean that businesses should simply panic and adopt a kitchen-sink approach to their digital transformation. In other words, throwing a bunch of random methodologies and processes at the issue and seeing what sticks isn’t the most prudent means of managing the current situation, nor is it going to get the desired results. A measured, data-driven approach is by far the best way moving forward. Calmer heads always prevail.

1. What Are The Key Metrics?

Identifying key metrics for employees and departments and ensuring that those align with the business’s KPI is crucial. Pinpoint goals. Establish performance objectives. This becomes your blueprint moving forward.

2. How Are You Tracking Those Metrics?

Does your business currently have a plan in place for keeping track of all relevant metrics? And remember, it’s not about micromanaging or making employees feel as though they are under some sort of surveillance. Rather, it’s about understanding what progress is being made and ensuring that your team is on a path toward success.

3. Are You Recognizing And Rewarding Your Employees?

Managers have access to substantial amounts of data—a goldmine of such data actually. But are they using it in the most meaningful way possible? As this can be a difficult period of adjustment for some employees, it is important to reward and recognize where relevant. That proverbial pat on the back can go a very long way in this kind of situation. The more managers can do to reward those who do succeed at their goals and even overachieve, the better.

4. Are You Personalizing The Employee Experience?

Most businesses are going to be confronting a learning curve—probably quite a few of them. Keeping things personal is going to help as companies strive to overcome obstacles and circumvent bumps in the road. Given the data to which leaders have access, it is easy to stay on top of the hiccups, to automatically deliver personalized Just-In-Time training and reskilling when required, and ultimately help redirect employees who may be experiencing difficulty.

We understand that, ideally, digital transformation takes time—unfortunately, it’s time that numerous businesses around the world are finding they just don’t have given the current circumstance. A dispersed workforce can be just as productive if managed properly.

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