We’ve learned countless lessons over the last few days, weeks, and months that have forced us to change the way we live and work. Prior to COVID-19, many businesses were already transforming to thrive in the digital world. But this health crisis has forced the hand of others. It’s exposed cracks in the foundation of many businesses—particularly those that have postponed the inevitable. Unfortunately, as face-to-face meetings and in-office access are no longer possible, many are scrambling. Their office doors have been closed for the foreseeable future and forces bigger than their businesses have demanded them to find a way to work together—apart.
The modern workplace
The global health crisis has illuminated an evolution that’s well under way: the modernization of the workplace. Work is no longer tied to a specific device or location. And many businesses have shifted from the workplace to the workspace. They’ve adopted new technology, adjusted to a services-based model, and automated processes. A few months ago, you could find just as many colleagues in an office building as you could in a local coffee shop, co-working space, or home office. These days many digital workspaces have been created in the most unlikely places: a corner bedroom, a closet, or a spot at the kitchen table. The modern workplace has a smaller footprint, but a global talent pool and distributed teams. Gig and remote work are common, and with more uncertainty on the horizon, this trend will likely increase.
The modern workforce
Today’s workers are hardly one size fits all, but rather dynamic and complex. The modern workforce is multigenerational, comprised of five generations of workers. They come to the (virtual) office with different work styles and values. They also vary in background, education, experience, skillset, personality, communication style, politics, and priorities. It’s a lot to keep up with, and that’s just the beginning. Additionally—with globalization, technology advances, and now, Coronavirus—the modern team is distributed. Colleagues are no longer confined to conjoined cubicles, but they may work together from across the state, the country, or the globe. And with a strong business case to support it, the modern workforce is becoming more diverse. Women now comprise more than half of the workforce. And greater representation and inclusion—across race, ethnicity, gender, religion, abilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and beliefs—are becoming more common.
Leading a modern team
Business leadership has never been an easy task but managing a modern team—a diverse, multidimensional, and distributed team—is a tall order. To do it well requires a new brand of leadership.
Especially during tenuous times, company culture has the power to make or break an organization. So, it’s not just helpful, but critical to keep your team engaged. A growing majority of the modern workforce values meaning, flexibility, and connection in their work, while others are motivated by teamwork and efficient communication. Different members of your team value different things. But in every case, a company culture where team members’ needs go unmet can be costly. Every investment you make into the diverse needs and values of your team can pay long-term dividends. With satisfied and self-sufficient employees, you can improve productivity, save time, and enhance your own well-being.
As you’re managing your team, another important factor to keep in mind is your processes. What works well? What doesn’t? What adjustments can you make to ensure your team can work well together—wherever they’re located? Any support you can provide to reduce unnecessary friction as you make changes will go a long way. And how you onboard new hires matters just as much as your day-to-day procedures. In fact, some studies have shown that as many as 90% of new hires have made a decision to stick around or to leave an organization within their first six months on the job. As you’re thinking through tasks and workflows, consider your current inefficiencies as opportunities to streamline processes and help to make work easier for your team.
With a plan to improve morale, foster engagement, and implement better processes, it’s time to get practical. To effectively manage your modern team, you must equip them with 1) Tools that match their workstyles and 2) Technology to get work done. Your team needs to be able to stay in touch, share, and collaborate with ease. Especially now, they may also need help to create a home office that functions just as well as their office-office.
Get the essentials
With productivity tools like Microsoft 365, featuring Microsoft Teams, you can help your team stay connected and give them the freedom they need to securely and easily work from home. At Imagis, we offer complete work-from-home solutions designed for diverse and distributed teams. For more tips and practical guidance, check out our Essential guide for managing a modern team.