I had an “aha” moment the other day when I was trying to get some things done while at my desk in my home office. I honestly didn’t feel like working and just couldn’t focus. In addition, I had a few honey-do’s and some errands I needed to run, so I just walked away from working—even though I had a lot of business activity that needed attention.
I know that this is a frequent occurrence for many of us who are working, but the thought hit me that all of us are now in a new work-norm and business leaders need to step back a little and assess what we need to do to make sure we stay on track customer-wise and contract-deliverable-wise.
The previous working-environment-norm was that we were physically working together and seeing our colleagues and employees regularly. In a way, we were motivated to stay focused and get our work done because we were visible.
Given the distractions and challenges of working from home, we all almost need to adopt a self-starter mentality. In the case of business contract work, the project managers and leadership team members have to rethink how we make sure our teams and our employees are staying focused and getting their work done and do so in such a way that we don’t become micromanagers!
So, as leaders how do we accomplish this? As I began thinking this through, I realized that if I’m going to be an effective counselor and valuable advisor, I needed to figure this out and address it during every engagement with clients and during any workshops or seminars I’m delivering.
So here are my thoughts:
- Investigate your state’s non-exempt employee delivery hours reporting requirements.
- Create a spreadsheet-map connecting any contract delivery requirements to certain employees and include a time-activation column so you remember to regularly contact those employees regarding their contract deliverable status.
- Use the human element strategy! Engage in encouraging phone calls or Skype interchanges from time to time with your employees.
- If you are employing an agile management strategy, make sure your virtual standup sprints are held every morning and take advantage of this approach to take note of how on-track deliverables and contract requirements are progressing.
- Given the employee and colleague separation environments, hold more frequent all-hands motivational virtual gatherings focused on how everyone is doing and recognize individuals who are handling this new work environment exceptionally well.
I would love to get your feedback on my thoughts on how to successfully handle this new environment and any additional thoughts you have on this important topic. What’s working for you? What challenges are you facing? Feel free to comment below.