In February of 2020 I released the Remote Working Whitepaper. In it I shared 7 Remote Work Enablers, each an essential ingredient for remote work success.
As many organizations move to the even more complex hybrid work environment, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit these as a reminder. As you consider where you are with you work, what do you notice?
In the Remote Working Whitepaper, I released earlier this year, I summarized seven of the areas I consistently see as things that help, or enable, exceptional performance in the remote space. As a former remote leader myself for many years, I knew that these things were always areas to check in around first, to see if perhaps, one or more needed attention, clarity or modification.
Whether your team is now working remote all the time, or for just this period of time, it can be useful to focus in on these 7 areas which I like to term Remote Enablers – The 7 Cs. Here’s an excerpt from the Whitepaper which you can pick up a copy HERE.
What’s different in the remote space?
Copyright 2020 – Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized. All Rights Reserved
Remote teams operate across distance, time and culture. This usually requires enhanced skills in communication, boundaries, clarifying assumptions and being able to navigate the diverse preferences, cultures and ways of working of a global team. What is not clear or visible can become a challenge or pitfall for a remote team.
What ingredients enable exceptional remote work? I like to call these the 7 Cs which anchor exceptional remote work – Communication, Clarity, Connection, Culture, Consistency, Community, and Collaboration.
Communication is likely to take place along different channels, and at different times of day. The communication realm of the remote space may include phone, text, instant messaging, email, video streaming calls, and messaging across multiple apps like Slack and Trello.
The challenge with communication is that is often has no context - we don’t see “what’s beyond the screen”. Many times, we don’t have the visual cues that tend to make up the majority of regular communication messages.
On top of this, communication can vary across both geographic culture (some cultures are more direct than others), and industry culture.
Finally, we have our own individual preferences to communication. As a Gen Xer, I may prefer to have communication bundled and emailed to me, rather than up in the Cloud. Taking time to understand each team member’s focus and preferences is critical to remote work. Conflict may emerge for a variety of factors including different styles, lack of clarity, misunderstanding or interpreting instructions differently.
Connection with others helps remote work and includes connection to others inside and outside the team and understanding their work. Remote team members are likely to be part of matrix relationships, where they report to, and are part of, multiple teams. Matrix relationships offer another layer of complexity and opportunity in this work. Connection also means understanding how our work fits into the bigger picture, as well as fits into the bigger context of others work. Given the isolated nature of remote work, proactively focusing on connection is important. Take a look at the Remote Working Myths for more on this.
What can you do to create more connection across the team? Beyond the team?
Clarity is one of the most important enablers. This involves clarity of focus, clarity of priorities, clarity of expectations, clarity of roles and clarity of responsibilities. In the remote space, we need to make things EXPLICIT, and be regularly exploring our ASSUMPTIONS.
What clarity is needed for team members to do their best work?
Team culture becomes even more pronounced or diluted in the remote space, so a focus on this can be really important, especially when people are part of multiple teams. Culture is “how we do things here”.
Culture encompasses both visible (behaviors, language, artifact) and invisible manifestations (norms, values, basic assumptions or beliefs).” – Rosinski, 2003, p 20.
In shaping a culture there are the things we can see and help to define us (our taglines or the way we start meetings) and there are things that we don’t see. Team culture can remain very diffuse and not clear in the remote space. Taking efforts to clarify and intentionally shape what team culture is, and how we do things, becomes paramount for remote team performance.
Consistency is also key when we are dispersed or operating in different locations. It’s consistency of messaging, practices, and the way we do things. For example, every Monday we meet at 7:30 am ET, regardless of how many people can attend live.
Community – Remote Workers are hungry for connection and community. What are you doing to build a sense of connection and identity across your team or organization? Community can range from boosting communication across internal social platforms to interactive virtual lunch and learns.
Collaboration – Collaboration is an essential skill set when we work remote. As you’ll see in the remote work myth of “no person is an island”, we still need to place an emphasis on relationships. Who do you need to collaborate with in order to get things done? What can you do to collaborate better? Where are those collaboration windows and requirements?
Connection – Beyond community, how are we connected? What are the process pieces which help us do our best work? What type of communication exists? What helps bring people together on a regular basis both formally, and informally? Across a team and between teams?
End of Excerpt – Remote Working Whitepaper: When You Need to Get Up to Remote Working Speed Quickly. Copyright 2020, Jennifer Britton, Potentials Realized
Pick up a copy of the Remote Working Whitepaper for yourself here.
As you consider your work right now, and your work going forward, what is important to note?
Enjoy your reflection!
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