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Remote Work is Helping Us Learn How to Work Effectively

May 5, 2023

TRANSFORMING
WORK

WITH
SOPHIE WADE

Remote Work is Helping Us Learn How to Work Effectively

Remote Work is Helping Us Learn How to Work Effectively

Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytic and seasoned expert on distributed work, returns for Part 2 of her interview about hybrid and remote working. In this episode, Kate describes how to deploy remote options successfully—how we need to update management and work practices. She explains what claims and complaints about remote working research confirms and counters, what we need to be productive and to innovate, why surveillance is not managing, and how important remote options are for supporting sustainability.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

[03:59] Prior to the pandemic preparations for new work practice deployment took months.

[05:08] Even with preparation, establishing new practices as routines takes time and attention.

[08:00] New tools, asynchronous communication, and documentation are improving work experiences and effectiveness.

[08:41] Who can manage to break through hybrid meetings and how?

[09:42] Making better decisions about the practices and processes of meetings.

[10:41] Managing remote workers requires a shift in approach—to coach.

[11:28] The growing issues of surveillance, work breaks, and stress.

[13:20] Monitoring is babysitting not managing—why not manage by results instead?

[13:53] The four things remote working is supposed to be negatively affecting.

[15:09] How to nurture culture intentionally.

[16:32] Telework doesn't create management problems it reveals them—such as low trust, weak culture.

[18:05] How Capital One communicates layoffs transparently—very differently from other companies.

[19:08] Survey design is critical when trying to find out how employees are (really) doing.

[20:47] Deciding the key (new) norms of effective work.

[23:10] After agreeing norms, trust and empathy can build, reducing potential conflict.

[25:52] How can middle managers build trust, stuck between return-to-office and work-from-home tensions.

[27:05] Innovation’s two components: (1) creativity—best done alone; (2) vetting—best done in a group.

[28:21] Addressing the decrease of weak ties which are important for innovation and growth.

[30:15] Goals should cascade down internally to connect employees with purpose.

[33:04] Onboarding was not working before the pandemic, how can we redesign it?

[33:58] Mentoring, training, skills, and access combined with appropriate tools and equipment are critical for success.

[34:45] Dealing with the “sludge of work” to improve results.

[36:46] The importance of transparently sharing the managerial “why”.

[38:07] Sustainability is a key benefit of reducing traffic to the office through use of remote work options.

[40:46] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: To modernize your workplace and ways of working, listen to your people. Listen to your customers and suppliers. Listen to the investment community. Don’t make assumptions. Also lift your foot off the gas sometimes or people will get burned out and leave.

QUOTES

“Working remotely is something that's gonna take a lot of practice, and you're gonna have to keep each other honest on it.”

“Culture is about people, and we were using an office as kind of a proxy for culture when it wasn’t.”

“Is there anybody that doubts that if somebody is happy and feeling good, they’re going to perform better? And yet what do we do to help them with that?”

“The research shows that people who are brainstorming face-to-face feel more productive. They’re not! They come up with more ideas, but fewer commercially viable ideas.”

“When it comes to onboarding, 50% of people quit in the first six months, this is before the pandemic! How was that onboarding going before? I don’t think that’s one of those things that we want to replicate! This is about practices and processes.”

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