There’s no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the business landscape. Some will be hoping to get back to normal once restrictions are eased, while others will embrace some of the changes. One such example is remote working. The amount of people spending some or all of their time working from home has been increasing over the years, but Covid-19 saw those numbers skyrocket. However, many businesses and employees have found this to be a positive change.
Almost everything about business has changed, so how do you approach leadership in this new landscape? There are certainly challenges, but with every challenge comes an opportunity.
Flexibility is the Key
The first and most obvious thing all leaders have found is the increased need for flexibility. With staff working remotely, it’s opened the door for more flexible working hours and this has been adjustment for many. However, there’s plenty of research out there to suggest that flexible working hours and remote working can actually increase staff productivity. So, it’s definitely not a bad thing. Leaders need to be mindful though, that all staff are treated equally, and work output is carefully monitored.
Flexibility also comes in the way you need to approach other core parts of your business. We’ll touch on some of the creativity required later, but being agile and adaptable to new ways of doing things is now more important than ever.
Trust Your Team
With remote working, trust is a key component. For all the micro-managers out there, it must be a big change being unable to look over your staff members’ shoulders. Ultimately, this is a good thing for staff, and those leaders who like to monitor every second of a person’s day will simply have to adjust to a new way of thinking.
You’ve hired and built your team based on their skills, personality, and how they fit with your culture. Now is the time to trust them to deliver without watching them like a hawk. There are still plenty of tools available to make sure staff are doing what they’re supposed to, but you need to show a little faith in them getting the job done.
Another challenge faced by leaders in a remote working business is bringing new staff in. While existing staff have had the luxury of working closely, forming bonds and understanding how each other work, your new remote staff miss out on that.
However, with a bit of creativity and effort, you can ensure new staff can feel part of the team and get a sense of your culture even if they’re working remotely. Consider doing a morning check-in on Zoom as a team, or even holding some virtual Friday afternoon drinks. You can even embrace technology such as Slack and Yammer, which are great for operational matters but can also create a lighter, more social avenue for staff to connect and share.
Utilise the Resources You Have
If you’re a business that’s experienced minor disruptions due to Covid-19, you’re one of the lucky ones. Spare a thought for those who have had their entire product and service offerings made unfeasible. For example, accommodation services and the hospitality industry.
However, even in those industries we’ve seen people using the resources they have to keep achieving success. Restaurants moved to a takeaway or delivery model. An entertainment venue could be converted to a paid storage facility. We’ve even seen gin distilleries converting to hand sanitiser production. While that may have been more for charity than profit, it shows that with a little creativity, you may have more options than you think.
Look for Gaps in the Market
Lastly, and it flows on from using your resources creatively, why not use this opportunity to look for gaps in the market? It’s not just business that’s changed. Everyone’s way of life has been impacted. This could mean we see unprecedented shifts in consumer wants and behaviours. Keep a close eye on your industry, and think carefully about how you can service a changing marketplace post-Covid-19.