Hybrid and remote work arrangements are here to stay. And while many employees are rejoicing at the flexibility, only some leaders feel like they’re ready to manage effectively in these uncharted waters.
According to a survey by leadership training company VitalSmarts, 20 per cent of leaders say they are either unprepared or very unprepared to manage remote teams.
However, with a few simple tweaks and a new mindset, Atlassian Work Futurist and ‘Team Doctor’ Dominic Price says it’s completely doable.
And he would know. Atlassian made waves as one of the first companies to take the bold step of closing offices indefinitely and transitioning all staff to work remotely at the height of the pandemic.
With its work-from-home policy ‘Team Anywhere’, the tech giant has taken the last two-plus years to perfect remote working. And now Price, an in-demand media commentator and keynote speaker, is passionate about sharing their learnings with others.
"There is so much opportunity for everyone to do a few degrees better every week. It has the potential to drive huge sustainable improvements." – Dominic Price
"My goal in life is to get people to connect across an organisation. We find true community where there’s diversity and inclusion," Price says. "When you have those differences of opinion and get them to work together, that’s where the magic happens. There is so much opportunity for everyone to do a few degrees better every week. It has the potential to drive huge sustainable improvements."
Make working from anywhere work for your organisation with the following five strategies from Price.
Five ways to lead a remote or hybrid team to success
1. Separate culture from location
It’s vital to separate culture from location. Anyone working in a multinational organisation has already been operating with team members in distributed locations, so this isn’t new.
Culture is about recognising positive behaviours and actions and correcting negative behaviours and actions. This can be accomplished in many formats and doesn’t have to be face-to-face.
2. Stop trying to measure productivity
Productivity is a foolish target as there isn’t a reliable way of measuring the ‘productivity’ of a knowledge worker. And the notion that it can be tracked often sees backwards behaviour like tracking software.
Instead, look at engagement and other factors that can demonstrate how effective your teams are. Think about effective teams, and how you can get them to work well together.
To do that, look at their work environment, ensure they have access to the right tools to do their jobs seamlessly (Miro, Zoom, Confluence) and then determine the right practices or ways of working. Atlassian, for example, provides an allowance for employees to set up their home office.
3. Implement ‘better meetings’
The idea is not to have fewer meetings, necessarily. Meetings can be a fun and effective way of getting work done. And they are an essential part of day-to-day business. On the other hand, bad meetings can steal staff’s time and mojo.
To have ‘better meetings’, Price shares three tips:
- Remove unnecessary or duplicate meetings
- Make all other meetings ‘super effective’
- Experiment with asynchronous meetings where employees work on something but in different time zones. This works really well to foster inclusion.
4. Create a sense of belonging
Research shows that the most crucial ingredient for an effective team is psychological safety and a sense of belonging. Achieving this doesn’t happen by accident. Therefore, it’s key to create team exercises that purposefully enable it.
Assembling cohesive teams takes building a muscle many organisations just don’t have yet. Building that muscle starts with becoming a good teammate and working within the limitations of the environment by tweaking mindsets.
5. Embrace ‘intentional togetherness’
‘Team Anywhere’ includes an element called intentional togetherness. Atlassian believes in the value of some face-to-face time, especially for high-fidelity engagements. It could be forming a brand new team, creating a new strategy or some form of team bonding.
Building a better team
As part of its "intentional togetherness" initiative, Atlassian created a ‘Team Formation Guide’. This guide helps distributed teams (home, office or other) get the right building blocks in place when they first come together as a team. Price will dive into more detail about this topic as the closing keynote speaker at The Tax Summit 2022, presented by The Tax Institute.
The Tax Summit 2022 is a three-day event happening at Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC) from 19–21 October. For more information, please see the full program.