Amid COVID-19 caution, if your company has decided it’s safer for those who can, to work from home (WFH), or offsite, I hope you can temporarily celebrate losing the commute. As a consultant with my own practice, I have been WFH for almost 20 years. I mostly love it but I had to learn some new habits to make it work.
Last year I went back on a client site for about nine months. I was curious when I started what that would be like. The commute added to the length of my day and I had to adjust to the fact that there were back-to-back meetings all day long. I mostly didn’t mind this that much. The biggest adjustment was becoming reacquainted with how unbelievably social workplaces are and how much less productive I felt. I got to experience firsthand what most of my client’s deal with every day.
Corporations are, by very nature, very social entities. The social part matters a lot! You need it to work with teams, build relationships, influence and accomplish large initiatives. The interactions, formal and informal, are also often the spark for greater creativity and innovation. When you WFH, you miss all that and it has an impact. I also believe some folks struggle being productive from home because for them it is a place for their life outside of work. Even if they often work evenings and weekends, it’s not all day.
Of course, there are many teams already working mostly virtually. For them the current situation will have little impact. But if your team is temporarily WFH full-time, I thought some pointers might be helpful for those leaders with a newly minted WFH team:
Finally, be more careful than ever about e-mail and text etiquette. Adding an extra dose of “please” and ‘thank you” goes a long way. It’s tempting to go into our shell, especially for those more introverted folks among us. Resist this urge. Your team needs your presence more than ever.
Moira Clarke founded Leadership Consulting Partners 20 years ago to help companies advance their leadership and people systems. If you are reading this to the end, and you find value, please say so and share with others on LinkedIn and Twitter. Thank you!
Welcome to Moira's blog. I write a (mostly) monthly post about the work of building better work places: people strategies, systems, teams and leaders.