Safeguard your Business Performance through COVID-19
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
How will your organisation maintain performance with social distancing and ‘work from home’ policies in full flight? It’s easy to fall into crisis mode and blame COVID-19 six months down the line when your roadmap has slipped to the right but is that what you really want? What's the risk and impact of that?
For organisations forced into remote working by the pandemic, the risk of poor performance is quite high. Many of our clients work alongside off-shore teams so remote working and re-planning is nothing new for us.
It's time to think differently about how you work yourself, how your teams engage and how to normalise remote working to minimise the impact on performance.
You need to know:
Do we have a competencies map so that we can redeploy staff and maintain BAU?
Is the team available during usual business hours?
Is everyone on the team clear on their objectives, deliverables and leadership expectations?
Are our collaboration tools effective enough?
Has our performance dropped - let's check our metrics at least weekly
Here are our top tips for keeping your teams productive throughout the uncertainty.
Organisational intelligence is crucial
Know your skills, competencies and critical staffing requirements so that you can redeploy people as and when needed to cover support.
Action: Check you have a current, clear picture of skills, competencies, locations of staff members with clearly defined working processes.Organ
It's business as usual
Create and maintain a strong sense of responsibility and urgency. In actual fact, working remotely is exactly what off-shore teams do...the only difference being that they’re not working at home. Effective remote management is all about a coherent sense of purpose, clear goals, transparency and effective communication.
Action: Inform teams that following an initial day to set up and test a home working space, the expectation is business as usual, we still have business goals to meet.
Control your environment
Working from home presents new distractions. It’s important to create a workspace that mimics an office environment to keep productivity high and reduce distractions - like household chores - that interfere with concentration.
Action: Clarify your working from home policy and expectations. It’s not about the “big brother” approach but getting people to understand that they are still working and normal hours and rules of engagement apply.
Get properly connected and keep talking
With tools like Slack, Webex, Zoom and Skype, it’s easier than ever to talk with your team so don’t fall into the email and messaging trap. Webcams “always-on” are a great way to maintain essential discussions, professional boundaries and behaviours - we’re more likely to maintain dress code and discipline when we’re on display!
Action: Invest in some basic technology. It will pay dividends by maximising communication effectiveness and removing excuses for poor meetings.
Stay on-purpose and on-topic
Meetings are easier to facilitate when you’re in the room so make sure each team meeting has an agenda, a facilitator and is time-boxed appropriately. Restrict active speakers to one at a time to maintain respect.
Action: Effective meeting etiquette is especially important when working remotely, see our top tips for Running an Effective Meeting.
Stick to your empirical process
If working remotely is new for your team, there’s bound to be a few bumps in the road. Set time for a mini Retrospective each week to decide what’s working, what’s not working and what actions each team member will work on improving.
Action: No excuses - things may not go as planned but metrics and Retrospectives help us fail fast and recover quickly.
Leaders need to adapt their skills to create a productive remote workforce
With mutual respect from you and the team. Assume everyone is working until you find otherwise. Your job is to check-in with them and ensure they have everything they need to perform and deliver. If you find otherwise you need to respond clearly, re-iterate 1 & 2, confirming business goals need to be met. This commitment to goals means you don’t have to compromise on expectations - and your team don’t feel unsure or neglected!
Action: Keep your finger on the pulse with clear goals, daily stand-ups and polls. Act swiftly and clearly to any performance issues.
Community is key
Finally, and not least of all, create a sense of community. You are the same organisation that sat together yesterday. You have the same goals, responsibilities, challenges, concerns and successes. Some people love working remotely while others disengage quickly. Don’t let that happen.
Action: Maintain usual cadence. Keep your Sprint heartbeat, team meetings, Town Hall meetings, sales webinars and everything else you scheduled. Stay on track, on purpose and act as if you were merely having decorators in the office for a few weeks!