Posted: December 15, 2020
Corporate America is undergoing one of the biggest changes since the industrial revolution. Corporations have been trending towards remote work for a few years now but the COVID-19 virus is accelerating this trend. Already, there have been 17 major companies that allow their employees to work from home permanently.
This trend towards remote work will be a big change for lots of people but especially America’s executives who will be in charge of leading the shift while also maintaining productivity.
This article will examine how remote work can affect corporate America’s executives in the long term.
As small as it may sound, executives will need to adapt to new communication skills that are dominated by the likes of email, Zoom, and Slack. Digital communication is an entirely different skill than talking with people in person because you lose out on things like tone of voice, eye contact, body language, and so much more.
For example, even running a weekly meeting on Zoom is much different than standing in the front of a room. Over Zoom, it is much harder to gauge people’s interest, maintain eye contact, and make sure that people are engaged and participating. If you are not able to get this new style of communication down then you will struggle and so will your employees.
Being able to master this new style of communication will lead executives to the next step for success: maintaining accountability.
Accountability is hard enough to maintain even when employees are spending 8 hours a day 5 days a week in an office. However, now that employees will have free reign to work from wherever they like, it is critically important to make sure that they are still focused on work and meeting their responsibilities.
Things will be especially difficult during the first few months of purely remote work because employees might sense an opportunity to deliver sub-par work. Updating Corporate Governance practices in the era of remote work will prove to be essential as well.
The executives who are able to maintain the highest level of accountability are the ones who will be the most successful.
So much of the work experience in the past has been dominated by office life. Companies placed a huge emphasis on creating a fun office culture so that employees enjoyed working at the company. This included things like:
Now, these things will be almost entirely gone and executives will be scrambling to find other ways to compensate for them.
When employees are present in the office each day, it is much easier to read them and get a sense of how they are doing. However, this is much harder to do when everyone is working remotely. This could lead to dissatisfied employees who are not being approached simply because the executive is not aware that there is a problem.
Additionally, since the workforce could now be entirely remote moving forward, employees may find it harder and harder to “sign off" and people could be expected to be available at any point of the day.
Due to this, executives will need to accommodate people’s mental health and make sure that employees are still finding time for themselves during the day.