The lifeboat and the sinking ship
Last year we all experienced the advantages and frustrations of working from home. It doesn’t surprise that people would like to return to the office full-time or almost full-time. Last year, not everyone had the time, resources, or chances to create a great work environment at home: children and partners were there as well, your internet connection is unstable, you don’t have the best office equipment working from the dinner table,…. “When the lifeboat is that bad, it’s no wonder you want to return to the sinking ship,” Koen said.
For your employees to indeed be able to telework, you need your organization and your employees to be ready for remote work or location-independent work.
The values of asynchronicity
What if you can not only work location independently but also time independently? Digital nomads don’t work 9 to 5, but they choose the best time for each activity or job, being work-related matter or private related matter.
As a leader or organization, you’ll need to have a profound look at your business processes. What needs to happen in sync and what can happen asynchronously? You’ll provide your employees with the luxury of preserving their best possible time for the more challenging ‘thinking’ work, creative assignments, and other outcomes.
The need to hold meetings
In Belgium, there still is a lot of work on the road to asynchronistic work. We all hate meetings, but whenever we come across an obstacle, we plan a meeting.
Think about it and why you need a meeting in the first place. And more importantly, which parts of the meeting need to happen synchronously. For example: giving information to colleagues doesn’t necessarily mean they all need to hear it simultaneously.
Try implementing some silent brainstorming. Give people the right questions you want to see answered during the meeting one or two days in advance. You’ll find that many issues can already be solved or answered before the discussion has started.
The social factor
When employees are working from everywhere and anywhere, it remains crucial to connect and keep that connection between your employees and between leaders and employees. Leaders need to enter into a much more personal dialogue without crossing the borders of what their employees believe to be too emotional.
Asynchronicity is important, but building in those synchronous social moments (the coffee corner moments) is equally essential. That’s when you find out what is going on inside the heads of your employees. The key is to create a platform where all employees, introverts, can and will speak up their minds.
Digital nomadism (as well as teleworking) has its advantages and its obstacles to overcome. It’s not a black-or-white situation.
Koen Blanquart collected stories about digital nomadism and his encounters with other digital nomads in his book. His book will soon be available for everyone to read, with everything we’ve heard so far and more, in much more detail.