Are you focusing on the right thing?
One of the most common things I hear when it comes to remote vs return policies is that the culture of the organization depends on one practice or another. In its purest form, company culture is how work gets done. It includes the vision of the organization, as well as the values that dictate how the company will achieve that vision. What I’ve found is that leaders are focusing more on the tools they’re using to get work done, rather than the behaviors to expect from their employees.
I mostly hear that collaboration is a concern in remote work environments. If collaboration is an important component of the work that needs to get done, it helps to set the stage for what successful collaboration looks like. Does it involve constant close communication? Multiple people contributing to an idea at once? Measurement across multiple business units? Identifying the behaviors that define successful collaboration makes it easier to discern the best tools that support those behaviors. Regular close communication can be supported in a daily standup, chat tools like Slack, or “pod” office setups where the collaborating team all sits together. Multiple people contributing to an idea at once can be supported in a virtual or onsite whiteboarding session or even in a simple tool like Google Docs.
As you work on your return vs remote strategy, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There is no one size fits all or best practice because every company is figuring it out for the first time. I recommend bringing it back to basics and defining the behaviors that will ensure the company has the right outcomes. Then survey your employees for their input on what they need to practice those behaviors on a day to day basis. See where there may be skills gaps or resource gaps. From there, decide how much of that the company can provide through remote tools vs how onsite tools need to be leveraged. Listen to employees who can embody those same behaviors (e.g. collaboration) through a remote tool (e.g. Slack) as they could through an onsite tool (e.g. office space). Remain adaptable to support your employees however they need, rewarding the behaviors that get them to goal. Build and reward these behaviors, and you’ll find the rest of your strategy unfolds from there.
Either way, some sort of behavior change will likely be necessary. It’s tough to change employee behavior alone, which is where SkillCycle can help. We know it takes a village to upskill talent and our platform provides tools and resources for everyone. If you are implementing your remote vs return policy, we’re here to support the skills and behaviors you and your employees will need to ensure the plan is successful.