We are now slowly, but surely emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia. Things for a lot us are becoming more “normal”. Sport is coming back, gyms reopening, socialising and for some, a return to the office. However, according to the Recruitmore Post Covid return to work survey this will be different for every business. (Ask me if you would like to see our findings).
What we did find is that the new workplace “normal” will be very different from the old one, it seems that more flexible work arrangements are here to stay, with the majority of businesses we spoke to allowing more time to work away from the office. With that said, it leads to my point of this piece which is how much and what contact is needed with your remote work force in order to stay connected and engaged?
After speaking to both managers and team members across multiple sectors, it seems there is varying views on how much contact is needed day to day, particularly via video meetings. I’ve had some team members tell me that they must have two video meetings every day with the whole team, 9am and 5pm. For me this sounds excessive and pretty much goes back to the ‘having meetings for the sake of meetings.’ I’ve also had team managers tell me how they are frustrated at having these meetings trying to find things to discuss when they only spoke to their team earlier in the day.
After giving this topic some thought over the past couple of hours, I’ve come up with the following brilliantly never been thought of before observations and findings.
Firstly, you need to consider whether the video meeting needs to happen. Can an email be sent, a text, a phone call? Sometimes the phone is still the best tool to communicate (other than in person) and you don’t need to involve all team members in every discussion. On the phone you only have to concentrate on one voice and can walk around which can help with thinking.
If you have team members underperforming can the meetings wait until you see them in person in a couple of days? What detriment could a negative video meeting have? Once the video ends you can’t see behaviours or demeanours. Will this effect employee retention?
Leaders need to use the common sense voice inside of their head to make these decisions on a case by case basis. One of the positive outcomes of this pandemic is that widespread it has been seen that flexible remote working can be a success. Don’t make it inflexible again.