Our world has been turned upside down for over 18 months now and as leaders, we have been managing in a very virtually focused world rather than in offices. I class myself as an introvert and, in the last few weeks, I have recognised that I have become even more introverted since March 2021. Working remotely has brought a lot of benefits to leaders most of which are around the additional time we have all gained by not travelling or being interrupted in the office. In many ways, the necessity of remote working has brought some amazing benefits and has helped to accelerate the performance of our businesses. But we need to be very aware that continuing with this same leadership model may be adversely affecting our teams.
I spoke to a client last week who told me that she has been advising the President of her business of the need for them to give more face time to the organisation. She said that this leader was enjoying an increase in productivity of over 200% during the pandemic but that the organisation was screaming out for more face to face time from them.
18 months is a long time and new behaviours have been formed. Reversing or changing these will take effort and, although our increased productivity is fantastic personally, leaders must consider the damage being caused through the lack of relationship building, communication and general water cooler chats is having on our culture, engagement and workforce motivation.
More than a year after the pandemic’s global debut, physical interaction is slowly resuming to workplaces in different parts of the world. However, hybrid work is here to stay, as remote and virtual work will continue for many. Now is a good time for executives to start planning what their hybrid organizations will look like, and how to manage them.