We see that it’s quite hard to shift in a fully virtual environment because it requires a new skill-set for managers. But let’s not forget the purpose, as we are all working on building the best virtual workplace.
Now, let’s dig into the most complicated challenge at the core of the new virtual leadership skill set. How to get the most of the virtual workspace and hit collective goals while respecting individual freedom and work-life balance?
We hear a lot about the fact that individual productivity has never been so high since the broad adoption of the working from home phenomena. But it’s hard to find accurate data or consistent trends to prove it. We only know that people work 10 to 20 percent longer hours, and burnout has increased simultaneously. The key to understanding this complex and rapidly changing environment begins with the following hypothesis.
The WFH-forced choice to fight the pandemic threat can create a very negative bias toward the situation's acceptance, and therefore the ability to be motivated and engaged. On the contrary, people who have always dreamt of working remotely without finding the right job or those who have health issues, long commutes, or loved ones to take care of, acknowledge the benefit. It’s a question of perspective, and there is no common ground among the diversity of households. It depends. But there are some pitfalls to avoid and keep people motivated.
The common point is that no one wants to work from home and be micromanaged or burned out. Oversight can be perceived as an intrusion if you have permanent check-in from the manager. It questions the concept of control in management and how you can make sure people work when you don’t have a concrete day-to-day vision of each team member's activities. Besides, time measurement is not reliable when most of the work comes from that edgy zone where personal and professional life gets blurry.
So what is the best way to follow-up on work progress, and what should be the best output to measure performance?
The return on the experience of fully remote companies from day-one is unanimous. The only way to measure performance is to adopt result-oriented processes and clear role definitions. What is written is clearly settled. And as the playwright and polemicist George Bernard Shaw said: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Please, give extra-caution to the performance review process
Do not fall into the recency bias, the most common bias in career management. That short-cut makes you focus only on the last events for measuring performance. The big picture of the job’s progression, the learning curve, and the impact over time should be part of a robust performance assessment process.
And this is where the Manager should log all the most critical team members’ career events to easily access all the data to perform a fair performance evaluation after several months. Good4work’s Management dashboard feature aims to provide data for that purpose.
Originally posted on LinkedIn.