London Business School recently held a Global Leadership Summit where executives reported the majority of workers will work remotely by 2020. This was agreed among executives, entrepreneurs and business academics with 25% of those saying more than three-quarters would not work in a traditional office.
There was discussion about this shift resulting from technology advancements and changes in management thinking. Although management thinking might be driving the responses, management thinking needs to deal with this shift as well. In Executive Coaching, many clients are already struggling with managing virtual teams, how to manage those who already work remotely some of the time, and how to influence across locations. Leadership coaching already deals with these issues and will only need to increase to meet the increase in people working remotely.
Corporate Executive coaching focuses on helping Executives define a communication strategy and actions for the various individuals in their team. Executives need to ensure they spend time and communicate with those employees at a distance and not just default to developing strong relationships with those on-site. Questions that are considered within the Leadership Coaching include: where is each member? Which team members do you need closer interaction with and those less so? What are all the communication methods? What frequency for each method and member?
A practical tip for a leader, which might seem obvious, is to have a map on the wall with stickers or push pins to represent the remote locations where employees are working. This helps keep the employee “visible” despite being in a different location. It also acts as a reminder to reach out. If a leader thinks they are out of touch or haven’t communicated enough – then reach out whether you are sure or not.
Executive Coaching must continue to develop ideas and questions that will help the leader adapt to the growing trend towards more remote workers.
What would you do to facilitate remote workers?