Behaviors That Impact Working Remotely
There is a lot of great energy in the market right now pertaining to organizations moving their workforce to a remote working arrangement. While considering all of the cost/benefit impacts of a remote workforce strategy, among those to consider are individual behaviors. Just because an employee is super excited about working from home so they are not sitting in traffic for three hours a day, doesn’t mean they are wired to be effective at working remotely. Likewise, just because the organization can place people remotely and cut their office needs by 75%, doesn’t automatically mean leaders are wired behaviorally to manage remote employees. The point, assess your people to understand their core behaviors prior to implementing a remote work strategy so people understand what impacts are coming so they plan accordingly. Surprise behaviors are never good. Identifying behavioral problems after the switch is flipped adds a whole other level of difficulty that could have been avoided if known ahead of time.
Perhaps the most significant impact behaviors have on working remotely is how the arrangement affects trust. Over time, people who are feeling based by nature, start to feel ignored and left out. They can adopt a feeling like people don’t trust them and are excluding them on purpose. It most likely isn’t true but they feel like it is true. Another example, working remotely will require more explicit processes especially with communication to be successful. However, some people are not naturally wired to follow processes and over time can be viewed as not caring or goofing off instead of working. That damages trust so it becomes imperative to assess for it ahead of time and then set the expectations. Working remotely also demands significant change to people’s habits and understandings. Well what if an employee or a boss is not naturally wired to be good at change? What does that mean and how does being slow to change impede the remote strategy? When naturally impatient behavior people want something, they would normally get up from their desk and go talk to somebody. They hunt people down to communicate and get the goal met. When working remotely, finding people just to ask a simple question is no longer a communication avenue so now what? Impatient hard charging bosses go ballistic when they can’t make contact with a remote employee and that leads to a trust disconnect. These are classic behaviors that don’t necessarily reveal themselves when people work together every day in an office.
It is also critical to understand that working remotely part time is NOT an onramp to working successfully full time. Working remotely full time has a whole level of dynamics that don’t come in to play when an employee is working from home one or two days a week.
The point here is to know that the core behaviors of a boss and employee have a huge impact on the effectiveness of remote performance. Some people are wired for it and some people are not. What’s important is to know ahead of implement a remote workforce strategy is how people are wired because the more that is known ahead of time, the more successful the effort will be. The goal is to maintain or improve performance so assess your people to ensure their success.