Article by: Nigel Tyler
Following on from my previous article, I would like to concentrate on trust.
Trust, especially when the staff has been thrust into a remote working environment can be a significant motivator and praise and recognition is one of the most important factors in building trust. So, it is important for a manager to show trust with remote working employees.
One of the most common statements being thrown about in regard to working from home prior to the outbreak of Covid19 was a reduction in productivity, less work being produced to schedule, and employees taking advantage of the situation.
As it turns out and has been captured in various reports and studies, staff who have moved to remote working, away from the office infrastructure and the watchful gaze of their manager, are not less productive. In fact, you might find your people are just as productive and likely to work more hours and be just as motivated. This makes concerns about where your staff work, their productivity unfounded. Employees and managers still having to trek into the office may perceive home working colleagues as less productive or slacking off, which is not good for team working in the long run. Some personal reflection and analysis of the data would be beneficial approaches to learning from these experiences.
Through the experience of working for more than one blue-chip company in fairly senior positions, and having seen and experienced this behaviour from mine and other line managers it is refreshing to see evidence come to light that indicates quite the opposite.
This suggests that the secret to improved productivity is trust. Where managers trust their direct reports, they find that productivity rises. Where managers say they don’t trust their direct reports, they were more likely to say that staff is less productive.
Trusting staff members and their abilities can be key to releasing some of the control that they have been accustomed to when all sat together in an office.
A large percentage of people who are working from home and particularly those who will continue to work from home after the current pandemic recedes should already have a good understanding of their job requirements and so will be able to work remotely with little supervision, however, this does not mean that contact between manager and employee should be non-existent, let me give you an example if an employee has performed poorly on a particular assignment and as a manager, you tell them to redo the assignment, be aware of the impact negative feedback can have a person, especially when the likelihood of them being on their own for the next few hours and the repercussions this may raise. This is where effective management training is invaluable (and Crescente are well placed to help you with that).
Recently I was speaking with a senior design engineer who is working for Honda in Tokyo, he was telling me that he has been working from home since early 2020 and has now been informed other than one-half day a week, he will not be returning to an office environment at all.
Now we could make an assumption that as it was Japan who led the world in productivity and manufacturing innovations over recent times (Lean Manufacture for example) then it may be safe to assume that the rest of the World is likely to adopt permanent home working where ever practicable!