Choosing Trust Over Surveillance as Leaders Head Up Remote Organisations

Choosing Trust Over Surveillance as Leaders Head Up Remote Organisations
Photo by Mikey Harris / Unsplash

Working from home has often seemed an appealing concept for employees, and companies have been under some pressure to show they support flexible working and work/life balance. But it’s a completely different matter right now, when there is no choice but to remote work due to Coronavirus.

For many the reality of working from home is very different from how they thought it would be. Forget the practicalities of finding and setting up a space where you can get on with some uninterrupted working, there are many other methods your staff will need to adopt if they are to work effectively from home and help contribute to corporate growth.

Jordan Poulton, a serial entrepreneur and an advisor with vast experience of learning and development shares with us his views on remote working and how best to manage it. We asked him, what are the top three major organisational changes that are occurring with a shift to remote working?

  1. Security has often been overlooked, is going to become increasingly important. Like a pandemic, security is something that many see as a ‘nice to have’, until all of a sudden, it’s essential (and too late!)”
  2. Organisation. When your staff work remotely, you will lose some element of control. With less pressure on employees to be at their desk, how can you ensure that they stay on track? Ensure they understand what is expected of them. Jordan explains: “There’s no doubt you’ll need to make operational/organisational adjustments – remote working isn’t a simple ‘remote version of how we did things in the office’. You need to be open to changing your operational and organisational processes and tools to accommodate this new way of cooperating.”
  3. Communication. “Leaders need to increase internal communication and find ways to support and encourage meaningful connection – with large parts of the workforce ‘going remote’, a significant portion of the ad hoc, unstructured internal communication has gone away,” explains Jordan. “What may have been unstructured in the past will need to be structured to accommodate a remote-heavy workforce. Explore ways to facilitate opportunities for human connection.”

Jordan, what skills are going to become even more key with the shift to WFH?

“Managing to goals instead of micromanaging (outcome-oriented approach). The right balance of flexibility and discipline. And an even higher emphasis on communication skills, since a larger proportion of employee interactions will be virtual.”

Is there anything companies should be avoiding or de-prioritising with regards to upskilling/managing remote teams?

Jordan advises: “Choose trust over surveillance (backed up by the right tools!) Paradoxically, working from home often means that staff struggle to draw clear lines between work and home life, and often end up overworking.

While this might sound like a benefit in the short term, it quickly leads to lower productivity and burnout. Resist the temptation to encourage overworking to compensate your fears of staff ‘slacking at home’.”