Once you introduce this new level of self-motivation and self organisation for people, they will have a lot of space and a lot of decisions to make themselves about how, when, and what work they do and when they complete tasks, so it is imperative that they understand the rules of the game, the expectations, the framework for making the right decisions that reflect the values of the company and the expectations of clients.
As a leader you need to be really clear on what you expect from them. Are there a certain number of calls that are required each day, each week? Are there a certain number of billable hours on client projects that are required each week? Are there specific meetings that must be attended? Is there a deliverable that is required on a deadline? Are there times when someone needs to attend a client site to do work? And while we are not necessarily prescriptive about daily hours, there maybe times when an employee is expected to be available = like team meetings or calls to other time zones. Be really clear on the non negotiables and the expectations.
It’s not just leaders and managers that need to be clear. Defining expectations cuts both ways. Employees need to be clear on what they require to get the job done. If they have more autonomy in delivering results, they need to make sure they have the resources and support they need to meet the expectations of the organisation. Do they require certain tools and software to work remotely? Do they need access to specific people in the wider organisation and perhaps at certain times or intervals? Do they need administrative resources to help complete projects? When are they absolutely not working? Maybe after 9 pm is off limits so phone and email go off. Maybe the kids are put to bed or dinner with the spouse is between 6 pm and 8 pm. Maybe there is a business need to be available on the phone from 9 am to 1 pm every day.
Whatever the needs are, both managers and employees have to explicitly and fully clarify their needs to be able to effectively make remote working a success.
You won’t necessarily get it right the first time. That’s OK. It will be an evolving understanding. As long as you are open and foster good communication, you will find that perfect balance of prescription and autonomy.
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