Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

There is little doubt that our experience under stay-at-home orders for more than two months will change the nature of work in the future. Expect most every kitchen and bath business to evaluate its showroom space needs, but do not expect that most showrooms will adopt a work from home model for 100% of their employees. The truth is that working at the office works.

Actions and behaviors in a showroom setting are visible. It creates opportunities to get things done. Informal meetings allow for impromptu status reports and help the team better meet shared deadlines. There are presentations made to key stakeholders that take weeks to prepare. In-person performance reviews ensure goals are met, and debrief discussions help everyone learn from past experiences. Regardless of what type of business you are in, most companies follow similar protocols.

In your office or showroom, accountability rules the roost. Team members understand their roles. As one behavioral scientist noted, “Accountability is really just expecting you might have to justify your actions to others in relationship to a preexisting norm and its works.” Requirements to stay home have moved the work environment from public to private spheres. Consider the video calls that you hold with your team. How many team members are on camera for the entire length of the call? When someone can't be seen, accountability decreases and distractions increase.

When team members report to a showroom or an office, the workday is scheduled. There is no routine when an entire team or most of a team works from home. Sure, there is more flexibility, but there is also less accountability, and there's a good chance that the number of hours worked declines.

Maintaining/Promoting Productivity

If you rely on video calls, require every team member to be on camera. It is not likely during a face-to-face meeting that your team will sneak off to get a snack from the fridge, check their email or engage in another multi-task activity. Require your team to be present during your video meetings.

Determine expected working hours for your remote team members. Doing so will help team members to create start and stop times for their day.

Provide daily or weekly updates and progress reports for different tasks or initiatives and establish deadlines for different work elements. Deadlines help team members to focus on what needs to get done.

If you have different teams that you need to meet with, schedule meetings back to back, to help you be more productive. This applies to the office as well as remote meetings.

The bottom line is work is the ultimate accountability system. To improve your performance and productivity, imagine that someone is watching your every move.

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