Seven points to consider as C-levels develop their New Normal within a Distributed Company

By Dr. Patricia Connolly

Note: This post is in response to the Forbes article: “The New Normal Is The Distributed Company” by Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor.

A one-size-fits-all “work remote” policy is a risky proposition to make. As the extended duration of the pandemic impacts our life-at-the-office previous reality, challenges our vision of the future, and emits new pressure on work-life-balance, we wonder what will be the “new norm”? We’re thinking about this day-by-day, team-by-team, and finding that flexibility and employee communication are key to understanding what works.

Remote working was an imposed condition. SMC² was fortunate to invoke our business continuity plan (BCP) 10 days ahead of mandates, proving that employee readiness was key to our early success in working remotely. We continue to learn and listen carefully to our team leaders and client-partners in determining the best steps to take as we move into a new, organizationally healthy, future working style. Our thinking revolves around seven key points to consider as C-level leaders develop their New Normal within a Distributed Company:

1. Remote working may (or may not) be a fit, at the organization level. Assess the question at a team (or capability) level and clearly determine the outcomes desired. Start-up environments and new product development where more collaboration is required may drive a need to be together more. Customer service and consulting firms where building strong relationships with the end client may require face-to-face interaction to build trust. Bonds and relationships may still be best built in person.

2. Flexible office scheduling may be the right answer, as the need to be together necessarily doesn’t fit the traditional 5-days in office. Consider rotating teams in office by days of the week (Team A Monday, Tuesday; Team B Thursday, Friday; with super cleaning done on Wednesday), or other creative approaches. A limited yet known schedule may support the objectives and provide employees with the personal interaction needed. This will further provide opportunities to optimize workspaces for team connection and collaboration.

3. Keep people-focused. Attracting and retaining great people remains critical to any organization. We believe attentiveness to employee health and wellness is more important than ever. Company-sponsored programs for mental and physical wellness, conscious efforts to ensure work-life integration and balance, transparent and fair evaluation systems, attentiveness to personal styles and “virtual visibility”, along with reworking employee benefits are some of the initiatives that we are finding to help team members stay connected, satisfied and healthy. (This healthy approach extends into great working relationships with our client-partner companies.)

4. Global is the new local. While the new norm of remote or distributed working may seem forced, it has taught many leaders that global teams can work productively and efficiently. We’ve been working under this concept for years, building what is now known as Global Insourcing Centers (GIC)—dedicated, employee-centric teams work cohesively across time-zone as “one global team”.

5. Cultural diversity is an advantage. We’ve found that attentiveness to a diversity of thought is key to a formula where everyone feels included and the team outperforms the old, limited-mindset working models. Team members in various geographies, bringing unique ideas and perspectives bring a richness to the team experience, amplifies innovation, and drives creative problem-solving.

6. Embrace technological advances and be a continuous learning company. The pandemic may be credited for rapid-fire technical advances and innovation. Companies that are open to investigating and embracing an agile work style will be winners. Change isn’t inevitable, it’s simply survival. Embrace it!

7. The new norm provides a unique opportunity for CIOs and CDOs to effectively tap into a global talent pool to fast track their digital initiatives and innovate at scale. The experience of SMC² helps build global teams with the best technical and digital talent while enabling a playbook of best practices that drive an effective global work culture.

To learn more about SMC² and our award-winning global IT services, contact Dr. Patricia Connolly at patricia.connolly@smc2.com. Thanks to Supriya Ambuga, Jessica Parker, and Malahar Pinnelli for contributing to this article.

 

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