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Sunday, 30 May 2021

How CEOs say they made WFH a success

CEOs on how they made remote work a success: Remote work might be here to stay even after the pandemic subsides, so how can companies manage the pros and cons? Angela Cretu, CEO of global cosmetics firm Avon International, told the Financial Times that the pandemic accelerated the rollout and adoption of digital tools within the company. Avon prioritized staying connected with employees by utilizing virtual webcasts and forums. “We’ve also conducted employee opinion surveys and digital focus groups to understand how our people are feeling.”

Other firms had already been well versed in gathering virtually, as was the case with entrepreneurship impact and innovation company SecondMuse, co-CEO Carrie Freeman said. Grappling with the complete shift to remote work required three key elements: allowing employees to create flexible work schedules, providing various wellness services, and creating policies to ensure a work-life balance for workers.

And some were forced to quickly create a digital infrastructure: The time to adapt to the golden age of hybrid working came quick and hard and Sanuj Kohli, founder and CEO of LEME Group had to hustle to roll out change. The laser and electronics holding group set out by holding one-on-one meetings with employees to get a better picture of what was needed for the workflow and for the team’s comfort. HR policies were changed to reflect flexible working hours and investment was poured into the needed technology. The last step was to re-evaluate staff to make sure they were able to thrive in a hybrid work system. “We want a corporate culture that breeds flexibility and innovation across the organisation,” Kohli says.

Finally, some firms put trust in their employees and took it from there: Giving remote teams the freedom to prioritize their workflow and just checking in to evaluate progress is the way to manage work from home, Dropbox’s global head of media technologies Andy Wilson told TechRepublic. This includes learning how and when to communicate with teams, while “cutting down on external noise, and endless notifications means learning to prioritize and organize effectively," he says. Leaders communicating trust in employees’ dedication helps produce optimal output, Wilson says.

Strategies for streamlining operations while working from home have been the subject of many articles: Forbes identifies 13 critical factors in a successful long-term remote work plan, which started with making sure the plan is flexible enough to be able to pivot in case of sudden changes. Other factors include incentivizing employees, having clear communication channels, focusing on workers’ work-life balance and psychological health, and putting in place the right guidelines, tech, and systems. Meanwhile, the Harvard Business Review looks at how to put new employees on the right track when they arrive into a remote workspace. Having a comprehensive onboarding plan is essential, as is making them feel like part of the team, communicating the company culture, and finding the best role for the new hire based on their experience and passion.

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