You must focus NOW on your work from home strategy and culture – your growth depends on it.

One year ago, this week, states started shutting down their businesses in an attempt to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Executives across industries were thrown into a decision-making process as many were ill-prepared. Now, as we begin to emerge from this year-long debacle, many organizations are finding that “return to normal,” really means returning to a new normal where there will remain a form of work from home (WFH) for some if not all of their employees.

This WFH culture provides many benefits to both employers and employees alike, so it makes sense to consider a long-term implementation of a form of WFH strategy. This does not come without challenges, however, and if your organization is not properly prepared or focused, it could spell disaster.

My Work from Home Culture trifecta outlines the three elements that you must consider: WFH tactics, culture, and purpose. Today I will introduce these and over the next few weeks we’ll explore implications.

Work from Home Policy and Support

These are the technical elements of how to establish and support a WFH environment. I wrote in detail about these elements here and here last year. In addition to these tactics are other decisions leaders must make regarding policy. This is not just about technology, although having the right infrastructure is crucial. This includes helping employees with home office setup and providing work-home balance suggestions and guidelines. 

Culture

Never have we been faced with this level of need for cultural change in the workplace. Pre-pandemic, two-thirds of growth strategies failed primarily due to cultural issues. I have not found data for the last year, but I cannot imagine that this figure has improved in 2020. 

Based on my conversations with clients and peers, the single biggest challenge facing leaders during the pandemic has been mitigating the impact of cross-functional dysfunction. Before the pandemic, 75% of executives said they suffered from negative impacts due to cross-functional dysfunction. Focusing NOW on culture is one of the most important things you can do to eliminate the growing organizational health issues created by cross-functional dysfunction.

Purpose

Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for leaders to keep their organizations focused on purpose and keep this in front of all employees. Distractions as a result of WFH mean it’s easier for employees to lose focus on that which is important. It’s up to the leaders to help them keep their “eye on the prize.” This requires greater focus on active and visible sponsorship, a topic I wrote about here.

How to Act Now

After the onset of the pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders last March, two of my clients told me that our work together, moving into that new WFH environment would have been much more difficult. Why? Long before there were any signs of Covid-19 we worked on organizational culture to mitigate the impact of cross-functional dysfunction and learned how to make decisions faster. This enabled both of them to move swiftly into what we have started to call “the new normal.”

In the end, it’s all about speed – how fast an organization’s culture can adapt to competitive situations and seize opportunities to advance and grow.

What have you done to successfully adapt your organization and position it to grow? Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Dedicated to fueling your growth,

Steve

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