A lot of people in the C-suite today built their business by working shoulder to shoulder with their crew. Most of today’s business leaders are Boomers and Generation X. They want everyone to be together, literally, in the same place. That’s what worked to build the company, and that’s what they want to stick with. I know how that feels. You want to press flesh and look into their eyes. Nothing can replace that.
But I also know how it feels to work shoulder to shoulder with someone who’s working remotely from home, perhaps on another continent, and still have that same feeling of togetherness. If you’re communicating well, and if you’re both working to make a success, you can’t help but enjoy their company. FaceTime, phone call, texting, it’s all part of the same feeling.
If there was ever the right time for you experience that, it’s now. It can transform your business today, and it can open up whole new possibilities for tomorrow.
Let’s start with today. The same technologies that make remote work possible also make modern management possible. People today want to know how they’re contributing, and they want it measured objectively. You have to be open with just the right parts your data to make that happen. But when you are, it makes you authentic. You’ve given them clarity about how their performance is measured, and why. From then on, your communications are much more constructive.
That’s because there’s really not a lot of subjectivity involved. It’s not judgement, and that fact that it’s not judgement makes life much easier for the manager. They can spend time on problem solving and coaching. They can team up with their team, work together, measure the outcome, and then respond as a team.
This shifts a lot for the employee’s psychology, too. With a bigger picture in mind, and with an objective metric tied to a business outcome, they need only one more thing: a way to track the number. Obviously, RESULTS is the most complete solution for that.
But the point is that if they have their metrics on their phone so they can track them whenever they want to, then they also have their job on their phone. This is where modern management and remote work meet. Assuming that it’s possible for them to work from home, they might legitimately think that sometimes they can do better work there. If you just go with it, what you’ll probably find out is that they’re right.
IBM was 40% remote in 2009. One global survey found that a third of companies expect half of their full-time staff to be remote within three years. GitHub has been 100% remote since it was founded. Same with Mozilla. One of our clients, CLUBWAKA, has been 100% remote since David Lowry founded it in 1998. Today their social club and kickball league have a presence in thirteen cities.
Lowry’s a great example of how an innovative business leader can use remote work to his extreme advantage. He doesn’t hesitate to hire people in distant cities and manage them remotely. That’s how he built his business.
What that might mean for you is that the next time you need to hire someone, you could consider hiring them remotely to begin with. This will give you access to a much richer talent pool. Millennials are fast becoming half the workforce, and more than two thirds of them want to work remotely. If you have the proper accountability and communications in place, you can tap into talent wherever it lives.
Working shoulder to shoulder doesn't have to be literal. Not anymore.