How to create a powerful and efficient remote work experience



Due to the Corona crisis, we are suddenly stuck at home and need to rethink our routines and behaviors — not only in private matters but also when it comes to work-related things. Some of us were already used to remote work, but others had to start from scratch.

Remote work creates challenges which we do not face at the office. Old and settled office routines and rules get challenged. Suddenly employees prefer to work at unusual times, for example in the evenings when their homes are calmer. Active communication is required, whereas a short and random exchange in the hallway or kitchen was everything that was needed in office-times. Chats and phone calls leave more room for interpretation and misunderstandings compared to a face to face conversation. New technology and software tools are required to ensure collaboration and communication. Have a look here for some tool inspiration.

Here is how to face these new remote work challenges and create a powerful and efficient remote work experience:

1. Clarify expectations

The biggest mistake is to assume that everything is clear and the same as back at the office. That assumption leads to frustrations, misunderstandings, and a lack of clarity and direction for every person involved. Remote work is different from office work, and therefore it is essential to clarify expectations and needs, even about topics that seem to be obvious. Read here more about that topic.

2. Focus on results and create commitment

Since home working became omnipresent, a lot of companies increased their focus on time even more. Rules related to business hours got reinforced or new ones such as a response time on chat messages or emails got introduced. Such rules can lead to frustration and demotivation because the lack of trust within a company becomes even more visible.

Especially during the Corona crisis, a lot of us face challenges and distractions like our families, flatmates and pets because everyone is at home all the time. People develop new routines and re-discover personal preferences like their most productive working hours.

Consider focusing on results instead of time. That mindset change increases commitment and motivation since working hours can be adjusted to personal circumstances and needs. Furthermore, a focus on results leads to clear goals and objectives, which again improves communication. On top, it is a lot more fun for everyone.

The focus change from time to results is only possible when everyone is committed to their work. Commitment can be created and increased by having regular planning and sync sessions in which team members commit to dedicated work packages. Read here more about that topic.

3. Have Focus Time

Focus time means that employees can use dedicated time blocks of their working time to focus on one task entirely. During that time chat platforms, phones, email programs and other communication possibilities are muted or turned off.

Focus time increases, among other things, productivity, quality and efficiency. Apart from that, it also reduces stress. It is the foundation to get into a flow state which can result in deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction.

Strict response times and working hours collide with the essence of focus time. Therefore it is worth to reconsider such rules. However, some prerequisites such as “Acceptance”, “Respect”, “Trust” and “Focus on Results” are mandatory in order to make it work. Read here more about that topic.

4. Try Consent decision making

When your company has an “autocratic”, “consent” or “majority vote” decision style, meetings tend to be loud with hard discussions and arguments. They are often time-consuming and silent, but often precious voices do not get heard, which leads to frustration and lack of new ideas and input.

Conducting remote decision-making meetings can present an entirely new challenge. Loud and hard discussions are tough to follow, especially when several people want to talk at the same time. Silent people mentally disconnect even further from such discussions.

In order to change such a remote and also physical meeting dynamic, it is worth experimenting with a Consent decision-making approach.

Consent decision making means the absence of objections. This approach was adopted by the Sociocratic movement and urges the group to accept a solution which is “good enough” and safe enough to try. Employees come prepared into such meetings by providing not only an idea but also a possible solution. Consent decision making follows a formal process, and a decision is made when there are no meaningful objections.

This approach can be discouraging at the beginning, but it becomes familiar over time. Furthermore, it has a lot of advantages in the long run, such as more buy-in from everyone, a non-toxic meeting culture, valuable input and information during meetings, and it saves a lot of time. Read here more about that topic.