Working from home is a hot (online) topic.
Not only amongst the employees who are trying to make it work to work from home or amongst the IT teams who had to, overnight, enable the IT landscape for a full workforce to do exactly that. It's also a key topic in the (online) gossip corner; leadership showing their true colours. The topic of working from home is apparently dividing those leaders that lead from the principle of trust with those that lead from the principle of control. It's stated a bit black and white this way, but it actually is a topic that is currently whispered about amongst employees and is loudly discussed by them outside the company with their friends and family.
Is it fair for leaders not to trust their teams when they work from home, is it fair they want to control by having everyone visible in the office?
I have asked around; friends, family, neighbours, other parents etc. and picked up a couple of things that are maybe worth sharing.
Dress code has significantly changed and I wonder if the informal style is here to stay. I know of a company that watched in horror the formal dress code go from suit & tie in the office to hoodies online and wanted to forbid that from happening by issuing a new formal online dress code. I think it lasted 2 weeks before they let go of the new protocol idea. On another note the zoom calls in the morning suddenly had people not turn on the camera anymore and this left everybody else wondering what they were wearing …or not wearing for that matter.
The 9-5 job is definitely out of the window for now. That I believe everybody can agree on, or not? While certain leaders still want their people to be constantly online and fully dedicated to work during these hours it is/was barely impossible when having to be a school teacher and share the house with the rest of the family while not having a dedicated office space. So when to do your hours you are being paid to do? Well some get up at 5 pm and work till 1 am and then swop with their partner, some work weekends to catch up hours and some others..they stay in bed, watch netflix, decorate the house and do the garden using Corona as an excuse not to work. But really is this so different then in the office times, when the same crowd was hanging around the coffee machine, chatting away, getting holiday inspiration online, used the office as a parcel delivery point etc while their fellow colleagues were in full focussed work mode?
A positive mindset is everything! A can do mentality second! Massive action third. While some see Corona as a great time to unwind for others it is more hectic than ever. I have watched both my boyfriend as best friends work harder than ever before, I really even think to unhealthy levels. The responsibility of having to lead through this crisis, keep customers happy, cash flow going, preventing bankruptcy, constant communication to employees and suppliers, make tough decisions and still running a daily operation is an insane pressure and responsibility for all leaders. No wonder they want to count and rely on their teams, but some respond all the time and some others don't, how frustrating… but isn't that not different then before, I just wonder.
Everybody is talking (online) about companies and leaders that don't trust, that want to control, that want to see people in the office asap regardless of health instructions, that seem angry, are not genuine in their care, are faking the interest in home life.
Everybody is also talking (online) about those companies and leaders that trust, that care, that put their people's health first. That are reaching out personally and are genuine in concern and interest. That role model, remain positive and empowering even through these difficult times.
Due to Corona everybody has moved online, I believe working from home is here to stay. Maybe not to the extent it is today, but I have no doubt that many businesses and families have gotten adjusted enough to also see the benefits of (partially) working from home. So if this is the case, one of the key leadership qualities leaders need to have is trust, empathy and care.
Are you a Saint or Sinner ? It is also a leadership confession.