Updated: Apr 29
Workplaces have changed a lot in the last year. With more people working remotely than ever before, it is important to be aware of the pitfalls and possibilities that can be created in a dynamic workforce.
Not all remote workplaces are created equal
Understanding that not all remote workplaces are created equal, is fundamental to the overall performance of any team working remotely.
Some homes have distractions, and some have circumstances that cause discomfort and therefore are not conducive to good working conditions.
Personalities at play
Keeping this in mind, we also need to understand how personalities play a part in managing successful remote teams. Some people and job roles just are not suited to remote working at all. Ignoring this could be to the detriment of both staff and productivity.
Some people like to work remotely because they feel more productive, without the interruptions and noise that can exist in a busy workplace. However, some people get incredibly lonely and demotivated when working in isolation at home.
What options are there
So it is important to acknowledge that not all situations are the same. When it comes to deciding who comes into the office and who stays at home, it can be better to apply a voluntary system, rather than a rolling week-on, week-off approach.
Remote working experience
I personally have worked remotely to some degree for almost my entire professional career. I have travelled interstate, worked from airport lounges, hotels, regional offices, as well as from home remotely. I am a highly self-sufficient and motivated worker, who likes the peace and quiet to get my work done. However, many people lack drive and motivation, without the support of a good work environment, when a remote office can be riddled with distractions.
My work ethic or experience is not indicative of the average employee. In fact, to the contrary, most employees when asked would prefer at least some interaction with others, depending on the kind of work they do. Humans are herd creatures by nature, so it makes sense that we like to have others around at least some of the time.
There are ways to monitor and manage performance. However, let's face it no one likes to be spied on! So adopting some kind of monitoring of performance is usually very counterproductive. People work in different ways. Some take eight hours to do what others can do in four, making output most likely the best indicator of performance. The problem is that many jobs don't have specific output factors, or KPI's to enable successful output measurement.
Working to people's strengths, providing an opportunity for engagement, and support is far more beneficial in creating a harmonious remote workforce, that is both happy and productive.
Mindfully growing your business
As a mindfulness coach, I often work with businesses from small to large to help them grow their people's potential mindfully. This can take shape in a variety of ways tailored to the specific business requirements.
Mindfulness in business is not just about providing free yoga & meditation sessions for staff. It is all about leading by example. I help support businesses in a top-down approach to developing the skills to work mindfully in everyday operational functionality.
Some of the skills I teach include empathy awareness, spatial awareness, emotional intelligence, leading by example, and fostering effective risk-taking. These are not skills that we teach in schools or even university, yet they are fundamental to an efficient, effective and highly engaged workforce. An engaged workforce is well known for being much more effective at producing high profits.
So why are we not teaching these things? Why have we forgotten how to interact?
There are many factors at play here, which can be specific to different industries. Some of which have been impacted by change and progress. Technology has created efficiencies in our workplaces. However, technology has also created deficiencies in our interaction skills, and if unaddressed, these deficiencies will likely continue to worsen.
Technology's impact on our social intelligence & mental health
The question to ask of your business is; Are your people ready for the future that technology is bringing, at what seems like warp speed?
The more technology brings about solutions to problems, the less we will be required to interact in many places in life. Without practice, our social skills, and therefore our Social Intelligence is being depleted. We know clearly through COVID that as humans, we crave interaction with others. Social media hearts and thumbs up simply are not cutting the mustard.
Mental Health in the workplace is almost at breaking point. We need to do something sooner rather than later. The trends in mental health deterioration have been alarming for many years, yet most workforces still do not have a mindful top-down approach to business.
Want to know more about how mindfulness can potentially change the face, and the bottom line of your business in ways you never imagined?
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