Months into lockdown and with no clear end in sight, the United Kingdom’s professional world has moved almost exclusively to working from home. This has caused a potentially permanent shift in our daily working culture. We no longer chat with our coworkers in the kitchen or meet our bosses for coffee catch-ups. Instead, we communicate via video chat and various internal messaging applications, taking care that our status remains “online”, all the time.
As a leader, physical presence is a vital component to motivating your team. Now, leaders must learn to develop their virtual presence. This can be accomplished through executive coaching.
As a manager and a leader, it is important to understand both the benefits and drawbacks of remote working. Productivity might increase due to better flexibility. For example, instead of leaving work early for a doctor’s appointment, an employee might be able to log back in later that evening. Similarly, the lack of a commute can decrease employee stress levels and allow them to start work either earlier or later in the day, depending on their preferences.
The drawbacks of remote working involve, unsurprisingly, communication. Employees might require more direct contact or encouragement, in case they feel out of touch with their manager or the rest of their team. Effective executive coaching can teach you how to work within these limitations, leveraging both the good and the bad sides of remote working in order to be a strong team leader.
The lack of clarity from the government on the COVID-19 crisis will also impact the mental wellbeing of your team, who might at times feel a sense of hopelessness. Without a clear end date to work towards, it is critical that you, as a leader, provide a clear strategy for your team. A clear executive strategy can involve sustainable remote working practices, routine contact over video, and an otherwise “business as usual” approach to the chaotic environment.
Executive coaching can also help you understand the needs of your team. With schools still closed and entire industries facing mass unemployment, each employee will have a unique set of struggles to balance alongside the new remote working culture. Although it is important to retain business continuity, it is also worth considering the ramifications that COVID-19 is having on people’s personal lives.
Ultimately, executive coaching aims to help you as you help your team through these unprecedented (and remote) times.