Those who are new to remote work also need to change their mindset about how quickly to expect responses and learn to practice patience, he says.
“If you post a message in Slack, trust that people will be responsible and come to it when they can,” he says. “It doesn’t hurt to throw your question in the deep, dark water and wait a few hours. We will all learn that things don’t have to happen right this instant. This is the new norming that needs to happen.”
7. Accept that productivity will probably suffer
Choudhury’s research shows productivity often increases with remote work. But now, with workers who have never operated this way scrambling to get up to speed while dealing with the anxiety of the virus and distractions at home, this period is not the best litmus test for measuring the productivity of remote work, Choudhury says.
In fact, companies may need to face the hard truth that productivity could suffer by at least 10 to 20 percent in the short term, Austin says. “I have a client who hung a sheet in his basement because it was the only way he could hide from his kids. And his kids were still handing him notes under the sheet during our call,” she says. “With that happening everywhere, productivity is bound to suffer.”
Ramarajan says business leaders should send this message: We get it—this isn’t easy. Take care of yourself and your families first. And since employees are concerned about the global health and economic conditions affecting their job security, employers should also reassure them they won’t be penalized if productivity drops, whenever possible. This will generate greater long-term commitment to organizations, she says.
“Great leaders will share their own struggles about adjusting to their partners being on conference calls in the next room,” Austin says. “People often think that everyone else has it figured out except them. They’ll be relieved to know this isn’t easy for anyone.”
8. Focus on outcomes rather than monitoring activities
Supervisors who lack experience managing remote workers might seek to keep close tabs on employees—asking them to keep their webcams on all day or alert managers when they take quick breaks. Or they might send emails at 4:45 p.m. to test whether workers are still online. Neeley says this type of micromanaging, which was found, for example, in a Wall Street Journal editor's leaked memo, sends a hidden message to workers: We don’t trust you.
“THE CRISIS ACCENTUATES WHAT REMOTE COMPANIES ALREADY UNDERSTAND—THAT WORK DOES NOT NEED TO HAPPEN AT THE SAME TIME.”
“It’s terribly intrusive and tone deaf,” says Neeley. “Managers who don’t see the people they’re managing are struggling. They feel like they’re losing control, and their insecurities are creeping in.” She urges managers to let go of commanding by fear and trust they’ve hired competent people who aren’t slacking off.
One caveat: While most workers thrive with a hands-off approach, Choudhury’s research suggests that junior workers who are new to a company may need additional supervision and guidance while working remotely.
By starting with a minimum viable product, you'll be able to get something in front of customers as early as possible before you've invested too much time and energy into it. Take a page from Jeff Gothelf's book, Lean UX, and don’t sit on value or wait to arrive at a perfect solution before
implementing at the level of "good" can be good enough and be your starting point for further iteration. You’re not going to learn everything and anticipate every problem before you introduce a product. And, if you wait too long, the market may shift.
Before co-founding Groupon, Andrew Mason spent almost two years working on a product called The Point, an online platform for social activism. While The Point never gained steam, Mason did observe his customer base using a featured offering for a group discount on products. Because of good timing and openness to learning, he was able to pivot and create Groupon.
Related: 4 Tips for Developing a Product Around an Unknown Concept
By learning quickly and failing fast, yourself, you'll be better able to keep in lock step with customer expectations, to leave behind the ideas that aren’t helping your customers and to deliver the experience your customers want today.
If a customer purchased the product, Swinmurn bought the shoes from the brick-and-mortar store at full price to ship to his customer. When the concept actually worked, he knew it was go-time.
When Zappos.com founder Nick Swinmurn had the initial idea to launch an online shoe retailer in the '90s, he sought out the leanest way possible to test whether customers were willing to buy shoes online. Instead of spending time building an infrastructure and inventory systems, Swinmurn went to local shoe stores, took pictures of products and posted them online.
- The answer is both A and B. Before you deploy your pepper spray, you need to give the crowd enough time to respond to your verbal commands.
- Educating your clients to make them willing to pay the price you put on your product/service, is one task that every business owner should
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