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The COVID-19 Office Reality

Since March 2020, our lives have changed from almost all possible angles. Many of us are still forced to work from home, predominantly white-collar workers. While the hospitality sector struggles with the complete lack of tourism, working from home is not always a possible solution.

Managing Teams | Working From Home | Honest Manager

Dealing with crises as part of management skills

‘We weren’t prepared’ - as the sub-title of a Sci-Fi invasion movie. 2020 taught us to be more adaptive and proactive instead of simply go with the flow. This became a 360-degree truth to many aspects of our lives. That includes the workplace, which teleported for many of us to our living rooms, bedrooms, or broom cupboards.

Managers all around the world need to quickly pick up new skills focusing on coaching team members through a global crisis. You need to be able to tell them what will happen next, even if you do not know yourself. Bringing comfort in these challenging times is one of the critical management functions.

The office reality

At least half of the global white-collar workforce went and stayed home for a large portion of the year, which made organizations rethink their office policies. This means the end of enormous, shiny offices prepared to offer everything to the employees because we won’t live in them anymore. (Don’t forget that the time spent at your workplace takes up to a third of your life!)

Global enterprises, like Vodafone, are renegotiating their contracts with their landlords. The office of the near future will be smaller, won’t permanently house any teams, but will offer temporary meeting spaces. Most companies will support working from home, and many professional workers are going to become digital nomads working from remote locations.

This will require an entirely new set of tools and management skills very shortly, so it is best to prepare for it proactively.

Manager as a part-time digital nomad

If we view 2020 as a milestone in the evolution of management, it seems a natural next step for leaders to adapt to the new situation with the usage of new tools and methodologies. The previously viral office environment won’t merely lose its personal touch and the social life, but the ways how we communicate, follow the progress and recognize our teams will change in the upcoming months.

Being a remotely working boss requires the integration of strict project management tools into the processes and the rethinking of meetings. A glimpse into the future:

  • Project management tools will be used to allocate tasks and follow progress by the leaders and the members of the team too. Everybody needs to know the state of individual projects.

  • The previously multiple hour-long meetings will shrink and move online. Weekly planners will be replaced by daily standups, a 5-10 minutes-long session to inform others what you need from them and what they need from you and each other.

  • Emails will be replaced by group chat communication tools like Microsoft Team, Zoom, and Whatsapp that are searchable, more transparent, and visible for the relevant colleagues.

  • You will need to devote more time to motivate your team and to keep them on track while having less knowledge and access to their progress.

The best approach to preparations is to involve your colleagues and team members and see what the best-fitting solutions to every key stakeholder would be.

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