By Krishan Deeljore
As much as it hurts to say and hear it, we have to admit it: “Work has invaded our homes”. Over the past few weeks, people have just been adjusting to working remotely. Albeit without much training and with limited resources. We have called it the ‘biggest social experiment of the century’. According to recent surveys, up to 74% of businesses expect most of their employees to continue to work from home after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides. Not as a business continuity plan, but as ‘the new normal’.
Working independently, managing time efficiently, and staying focused on tasks are critical skills to remain productive in a remote work environment. Photo – cached.imagescaler.hbpl.co.uk
If you are an employer, you would have realized that your people work differently when they work remotely. This means that the support you need to provide to them is different, too. Most of us have realized that remote work success is not a given and the effort to be put in cannot be underestimated. It is one thing to work from home as a convenience or a forced alternative, but doing it for extended periods and being consistently successful at it is a totally different ball game.
With the increasing financial pressure, employers will be aiming and expecting to reach equivalent if not higher productivity levels through remote working as quickly as possible. As an employee, how do you ensure you are ready to excel at it?
Behavioural research by leading firm SHLâ shows that for successful performance in a remote work environment, these three factors are essential and equally important:
- Work relationships: A sense of isolation is common for remote workers, which can reduce work motivation. Establishing social connections, maintaining open communication, and building strong cooperative working relationships can overcome feelings of social isolation in a remote work environment to enable high performance.
- Work habits: Many remote workers are more productive than those working in offices. Working independently, managing time efficiently, and staying focused on tasks are critical skills to remain productive in a remote work environment.
- Self-development & well-being: Engagement is increased when workers have opportunities to learn new skills and use those skills to meet challenging goals. Being flexible, willing to take initiatives, and looking for opportunities to improve performance are important capabilities to thrive in a remote work environment.
In other words, your readiness to perform productively while working remotely and to be successful at it can be broken down into these eight behaviours:
- Do you put effort into developing and maintaining good relationships with others at work?
- Are you willing to share information and offer help and guidance to others?
- Are you confident and effective when working in an autonomous way, i.e. without direct supervision or help from others?
- Do you manage your own time effectively and deliver work on schedule?
- Can you stay focused on tasks over a long period of time without getting distracted?
- Can you easily accept and adapt to changes in your work environment?
- Do you actively and readily look for development opportunities in order to improve your own performance?
- Do you seek additional work and enjoy taking on new responsibilities?
Hopefully, each one of those questions will resonate with you and make you become aware of what is required in terms of behavioural shift. The next step will be to identify your strengths and start working on your areas of improvement.
As an employer, it becomes paramount to identify your organization’s strengths as well as potential areas for training and support in this new world of work. This will enable you to plan, prepare and develop your workforce for remote work success.
Krishan Deeljore is the Founder and Managing Director of BI Instruments Ltd, a boutique consulting and advisory firm providing bespoke services to Clients in the Indian Ocean and East Africa region. BI Instruments Ltd aspires to be a catalyst for innovation by helping businesses discover new ways to increase their productivity and agility especially in the current climate.
* Published in print edition on 12 May 2020