With everyone working from home and showing they can be trusted to get on with their work, it’s easy to forget to involve people in what else is going on. Back in the old days, when you were working alongside members of your team, you could casually ask their opinion on things. You might be having a coffee break and chatting about what’s on your mind or raise something in a team meeting to seek some additional views. You probably bounced ideas off people to see how they reacted before making final decisions.
Now we need to make sure we haven’t lost this informal involvement in decision-making. We can formally ask for people to vote on a proposal by putting it an email or including it in the agenda for an online meeting, but we would still be missing out on a vital part of day-to-day communications. We need a substitute for the corridor conversation and not forget the “oh, I’m glad I bumped into you: I was just thinking about…..” moment.
Some managers have discovered additional communications channels such as WhatsApp or informal Zoom sessions as a way of keeping their staff involved. These fill the gap between the formal communications, typically on email, and the social activities like the weekly quiz or the online coffee break. By bouncing ideas around and asking opinions you can compensate for the feelings of isolation that come with home working. It’s a great opportunity to go out of your way to make people feel that their opinions are valued. Instead of relying on bumping into someone in the corridor you are now deliberately asking people what they think. Who knows, you might even get some brilliant ideas you hadn’t thought of yourself!
The more everyone get’s used to working from home, the less they are likely to want to go back to the old ways of working. Yes, they are missing getting together with colleagues but they’ve tasted the benefits of avoiding the stressful commute and are not about to return in order to spend the day trying to keep two metres away from their workmates.
In a recent survey from O2, 81% of the respondents expected to work at least one day a week from home after the crisis is over. Welcome to the new world of work!