Leaders Go Beyond Measures

March 4, 2021

COVID has changed the complexion of every aspect of life, globally. The pandemic set off a sense of panic for the physical health of ourselves and loved ones. It also set off a sense of panic for the fiscal health of our businesses. COVID clearly showed the strengths and weaknesses of our business models, our expectations and our people.

Moving forward, all businesses are looking to increase flexibility and decrease risk. Recent studies in November, 2020, revealed approximately 25% of managers in advanced economies anticipate continuing remote work three to five days a week. In spite of the numerous dangers of the pandemic, forcing people to work remotely has somehow managed to help break cultural and technological barriers. Hybrid work models are here to stay!

Those working to gather or process information, communicate with others, teach or counsel or code data seem able to adapt to working remotely. Those in Finance, Management, and Professional Services see high potential for remote work. Team members often seek opportunities to work remotely to reduce their own expenses in time, fuel and maintenance. Since many workers have been working remotely for nearly a year now, their experience has brought them confidence which has increased the productivity of many, not all, remote workers. Leaders must adjust their work structures to capitalize on this new trend in productivity brought by remote work.

Leaders must be supportive and flexible as well. This new workplace brings new psychological and social stresses including isolation. Circumventing these issues will require reinvented policies and procedures. Doing this now will reduce expenses in commercial real estate, office supplies and time. Money that was once spent on these line items will now be redirected to improving and protecting technology. Using policies and procedures that worked initially when the pandemic first hit, improving what was weak, and discarding what failed, will create a new, stronger business infrastructure able to withstand future adaptations of working remotely-thereby increasing flexibility and decreasing risk.


Realize that in spite of providing faster, safer modern technology to improve electronic communications for inter and intra office personnel, some things are best done in person. Those include some coaching or counseling, building customer and/or colleague relationships, onboarding new employees, negotiating critical decisions, training of certain procedures or use of equipment. Much of this CAN be done remotely if safety requires it.

However, flexibility may require the option of face-to-face communication whenever possible. When face-to-face communication is required, just ensure that everyone feels safe. Wear a mask to make the other person feel safe. Use hand sanitizer to make the other person feel safe. As a leader, you’re doing this to make the other person feel comfortable and safe.

Realize that as convenient as video calls are, it is easy to miss non-verbal cues and connectivity is not 100% guaranteed. Alternatives should always be available to protect customer relationships, collegial relationships, and all productivity.

Realize that the ability to work remotely does vary across countries, so expect the unexpected.

A workstream is only as strong as its weakest link. COVID-19 has highlighted those links and made them obvious. This pandemic has required leaders to change their thinking and create a future that began March of 2020. Streamlining communications, and procedures will save money, time and hassle. As always, a leader’s ability to adapt and overcome will ensure the successful implementation of hybrid work models.

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