Trust is crucial in a remote workplace

Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, clearly shows that Trust is the basis for developing high performing teams.  Until this is addressed, it will be difficult for any team to achieve consistent and repeatable results. Unfortunately, some managers attempt to achieve results by imposing various controls on their employees which ultimately reduces productivity and team spirit. This won’t work in the Work From Home (WFH) world we are now in.

The sudden shift to WFH has left managers feeling anxious about what their team members are doing at home.  Yes, there are some team members that are going to take advantage of this situation, and that is never going to be fixed by a technology solution!  The key is to use this time to build trust with your team, and technology CAN be a part of that if used correctly.

Establish clear expectations for availability

The biggest stress for most managers has been, “how do I keep track of my team and what they are working on?”.  This leads to constant check-ins, chat messages and phone calls.  For workforces that have not had the WFH option before this can be a challenge.  Step one is to establish what STATUS means for your teams.

Step two is to provide guidelines for expected response times for emails, calls, and chat messages.  These should not be much different from in-office expectations, if at all.  This will give team members some relief about having to instantly respond to everything throughout the day.

Scorecards are a requirement

You do have a scorecard for all your individuals and teams, right?  If not now is the time to make them!  The majority of all positions are result-based, not time-based.  Time comes into play to understand the efficiency of a given employee, but in the current WFH environment most businesses need to focus on keeping the RESULTS coming.  In fact, results will vary both up and down based on the employees transition to WFH.  Some will accomplish more in way LESS time, others will struggle to adapt and could end up taking longer.  The point is, now is not the time to measure time, but results.

Make sure your Scorecards are in a cloud accessible platform (SharePoint Online, PowerBI Dashboard) and easily accessible and visible to all team members.  Schedule a weekly time to go online and review them as a team.  Visibility into results is key during this time.

Give the benefit of the doubt

Now is the time to have some understanding and grace with your people.  This is the first time many team members have had to WFH and it may take some time to get adjusted.  It’s not that they aren’t working, but that they don’t know how to properly set their status in Teams…..therefore, use as a training moment, not one to question their efforts.  After all, we are all in this together!