Words to the Wise

August 10, 2020

Remote Opportunities: Bringing Your “A-Game” to the Virtual Workplace – August 10, 2020

Employees work best when allowed to do what they do best. As far as basic management principles go, that one is pretty standard. But given the disruptive impact of COVID-19 on business over the last five months, the concept has taken on new significance—and, even wider acceptance—as employers increasingly shift workload offsite. On one hand, it’s a boon for the self-driven; on the other, a bust for organizations prone to mistrust.

If you’re a gig worker, freelancer, or contractor, you already know that the outcome of any given project is more important than the number of hours spent on it. By contrast, that kind of reckoning isn’t something that comes naturally to companies built on maximizing billable hours. Yet, the move is in progress and it’s reshaping corporate culture from the outside in.

Leaders in emotional intelligence

Siemens is one business that really gets it. A global Fortune 500 member with more than 380,000 employees, the company recently made big news when it announced that it will allow employees worldwide to work from anywhere they feel comfortable “for an average of two to three days a week.” While that’s not exactly earth-shattering on the surface, the deeper revelation is that Siemens plans to keep the policy in place even after the pandemic subsides.

Incoming CEO Roland Busch put it this way, “These changes will also be associated with a different leadership style, one that focuses on outcomes rather than time spent at the office. We trust our employees and empower them to shape their work themselves so that they can achieve the best possible results.”

Good news travels fast

No doubt Siemens is playing the long-game. In that regard, Busch knows that his company is paid for results, not necessarily the amount of time it takes produce them. As such, hiring people who get the job done should take preference over any quibble over “the when” or “the how” they do it. The mandate here is about making time count rather than simply counting time—a genuinely attractive proposition for recruitment.

Trust is everything

Empowering employees to do their most successful work depends largely on their environment. Managing workflow from the perspective of an individual’s circumstances is now seen a sign of organizational strength by most influencers. In fact, companies that are adapting to them now report productivity levels equal to or even greater than what was expected when everyone was in the office.

By and large, success has been a matter of clearly communicating guidelines, objectives, and timelines, as well as avoiding the temptation to micromanage or demand synchronous behavior. When things are done right, there’s plenty of praise to go around. Similarly, the role of constructive criticism has found a niche in finding a better way forward rather than merely finding fault in the past.

Elevating your expectations

As the workplace dynamic continues to evolve, there’s good reason to reassess how you present yourself to prospective employers. Those who put a premium on self-actualization, taking initiative, and working without direct supervision have a lot to gain on paper and in practice. At Resume Professors, we can be your partner in crafting submissions that showcase your personal work ethics as much as your professional credentials.

The difference is hardly a remote one.

Even if the back-and-forth process is.

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