In late March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses across the globe to shut down. Many businesses were forced to adapt to a remote work policy as it became clear that the pandemic was more serious than initially thought. Remote work took over the business industry and required new rules, new technologies, and especially new leadership skills. This new way of working has reshaped the workplace and how work is being done.
Leading During a Global Crisis
C-suite teams everywhere had to develop new strategies on how their respective businesses would continue during this time. Once they figured it out, they had to pass that information down to management. Management was tasked with determining what this new way of working would mean for their teams. Before any new strategies could be implemented, management had to confirm their staff members were capable of working from home.
Some issues included creating a workspace in a home, which can be a strain on staff as well as on the company. Oftentimes, new technologies need to be implemented to make remote work possible. Working from home requires space to do it as well as setting up home computers and networks. With all of these moving parts, it is pivotal for top-notch leadership to be in place to ensure the business can stay afloat.
A New Workspace
Before the pandemic, working from home was often frowned upon. Many employers were concerned about the inability to track the work being completed by employees. At the onset of the pandemic, executives had to contend with issues such as the business’ readiness to allow remote work, the costs associated with setting up a mobile workplace, and if the business was sustainable without staff coming into the office. Those were just a few of the problems that needed to be addressed before any major decisions could be made. Also, while everyone was working from home, teamwork became more important than individual skillsets.
Working from home did have its advantages, however. It provided a custom environment to work in, allowed workers to dress more comfortably, eliminated commute times and traffic, and gave workers more time to spend with loved ones.
Unfortunately, there were also some disadvantages to working from home. Some people had difficulty sticking to a normal routine, some grew bored without any colleagues around, and some found themselves working more slowly since there was no one to monitor their output.
At the center of this new work-from-home reality was the implantation of technology. IT leadership was required to have specific knowledge in areas including virtual private networks, voice over Internet protocols, virtual meetings, and cloud technologies, just to name a few. Strategically implementing these new strategies required attention to detail and an intense focus on obtaining buy-in from the staffers.
Guiding a group of employees in a new process can be a daunting task, especially if it is new to a leader as well. But executive staff’s ability to instill confidence in employees is a key factor to ensuring success with remote work. Jack Welch once said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
During the pandemic, the vision effectively became reshaping the workplace. Leaders were tasked with inspiring staff to work together to accomplish tasks, which included updating technology without creating a financial burden for the company. If adequate leaders were already in place, these tasks should not have been difficult to complete.
Due to COVID, the workplace has and will forever be changed. Though adapting to a new way of working is not unheard of, leaders need to be prepared in every instance for change and also be capable of passing on the knowledge of conforming to whatever the “new normal” turns out to be.
Originally published at http://jasonhanold.wordpress.com on April 29, 2021.