During this unprecedented global health crisis, many companies around the world are operating remotely to protect employees and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With a vaccine still in development, this new way of working will likely continue for the foreseeable future. While it takes some getting used to and comes with its own challenges, there are exciting opportunities.
The biggest opportunity is that your business does not need to be limited to the immediate geography of where you’re located, meaning you can connect more extensively with customers, partners, and opportunities around the world. A virtual sales call with a client halfway around the world used to sound like a crazy idea, but today it has become common practice. Finding a new supplier of raw materials for your business from a top producer in Italy used to be something only big companies with travel budgets would do. Not anymore. Working remotely is a great equalizer and has opened new channels.
Working remotely may also be a key to globalization. Our U.S., Europe, and Asia local teams are working from home, so we are all quickly learning that we really are just one big team. The disappearance of office walls and satellite locations removes any “us versus them” mentality or sense that the people you are physically closest to are the ones you should be most aligned with. This global team unity is a powerful silver lining of how we’re working and thinking today, and it’s just one example. Advantages like this are already transforming the way we do business, helping us achieve new levels of proximity, understanding, productivity, and innovation. To start unlocking them for your own business, follow these eight strategies as you manage your teams.
1. Be transparent.
The further apart we are, the more easily mistrust between co-workers and business partners can develop. If people are out of the loop or have partial information, their productivity and happiness decline. Make a deliberate effort to integrate people into the decision-making loop by hosting regular virtual town halls, video conferences, and virtual office hours. Regularly sharing information, goals, and metrics about your company’s strategy and personnel decisions will make the entire team feel respected. By keeping communication channels open, employees will understand how much you value them. This will help them become more invested in your business, and meetings will be less about updates and more about inclusive, productive collaboration. Now is the time for overcommunication, openness, and transparency