Few were fully prepared for the closure of offices and branches as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak intensified. With many employees working from home, challenges have presented themselves—but opportunities also exist.
Good leaders recognize the positive side of working remotely, says Matthew Meuleners, executive partner and leadership trainer, FOCUS Training. “We may not be particularly comfortable with it ourselves, but if we’re going to be effective leaders, we have to be ready to talk about what makes this good.”
Meuleners provided guidance during the CUNA eSchool session “Managing a Remote Workforce,” offered free as a CUNA member benefit.
Many employees experience fewer distractions and can work more productively from home, he says, and virtual tools can allow workers to act more quickly than if they were in the office.
With the right software for communicating and managing projects, “if I need to make a decision quickly, I don’t have to wait for three vice presidents to be in town for a quarterly meeting,” says Meuleners.
To work effectively, leaders also must overcome some of the challenges of working remotely, including:
“When members reach out to your organization, are they hearing different messages from different people because you’re not together on a daily basis?” asks Meuleners.
To counteract these issues, Meuleners suggests that managers rethink their communication styles and expectations. Some best practices:
“Model the generosity of spirit that we all need,” Meuleners says. “That can go a long way.”