REMOTE the new GOLD
Research based on data from a Chinese travel firm reveals that those who worked from home saw an increase in performance by 13 percent over the course of nine months. That’s nearly a full day’s increase in productivity each week. What’s more, the turnover rate of employees leaving the firm dropped by 50 percent! Therefore, they are accomplishing more work while being happier. Similar studies performed around the world have produced similar findings. This good news is important because I fear that many bosses and leaders may be underestimating and undermining the abilities of their employees to thrive during this shift to remote work. I also worry that coping strategies, such as micromanagement and inflexibility, could produce the opposite of desired outcomes. This will ultimately stagnate individual productivity, company productivity, industry productivity, and global productivity!
It’s important to approach this situation with the mindset that your employees will rise to the occasion. The Pygmalion effect makes it clear that they will only if you will. Research done on the Pygmalion effect demonstrates that a manager who believes his or her workers are high performers, then the workers will out-perform another group whose manager thinks the contrary. The innate abilities of either group have no noticeable impact on the outcome. Of course, this isn’t a case of wishful thinking translating to business sense. Managers have a lot of work to do to get here.
How do we ensure that workers thrive in remote settings that have been thrust upon them? It won’t be easy. Your employees are suddenly working in makeshift work environments alongside their families, distractions, and new stressors.
What can an agile leader do to support the organization in way that all involved profit from more remote work? What is the role of the leader in this environment? What are practical suggestions to improve the system?