Remote Resource Management
Work from home. Virtual teams. Remote working.
Zoom calls. Google Meet. Microsoft Teams. Webex Meetings.
And many more!
Thanks to Covid-19, the last six months has made these words very popular and a necessity in most cases. I am sure these are not new to you!
The one that has caught the attention of CXOs and Human Resources is – Remote Resource Management!
Professionals, organizations, and HR experts are analyzing the impact of ‘working from home’ through multiple lenses.
Let us review the positives of Remote Resource Management!
- Access to talent from virtually anywhere!
- Lower overhead costs – office space, real estate, housekeeping, power, heating, etc.
- Improved flexibility to all employees that enables them to manage work as well as home
- Increased productivity driven by fewer distractions that would be experienced at workplace
- Zero travel hassles (to office as well as to other cities and countries)
- Technology enabled access to employees – almost all the time!
With so many tangible business benefits, many companies worldwide are offering options for employees to work from home – for an indefinite period of time!
Now let’s turn to a couple of contrasting examples.
- Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer ended the company’s remote-working experiment in 2013, observing that the company needed to become “one Yahoo!” again.
- HP Inc reversed their decision on remote-working and wanted its employees to be working from HP’s offices – this was in 2019.
It is critical that business leaders as well as HR Managers ask an important question –
Is there a strong case against Remote Resource Management for long and extended periods of time?
It may be relevant that we pause and consider ‘Organizational Culture’.
Business entities (even within the same industry) have their ‘ways of working’. Among other aspects, a company’s way of working tries to articulate how individuals interact, how arguments are handled, how conflicts are dealt with, how decisions are made – aligning them with principles of integrity, trust, transparency, and ethics.
Dr. Elliott Jaques first introduced the concept of culture in the organizational context in his book The Changing Culture of a Factory in 1951. He viewed – “Organizational Culture encompasses values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business.”
Organizational Culture aims to generate social cohesion, and build shared trust. The biggest risk of Remote Resource Management is a diluted or an altered Organizational Culture. A McKinsey Research observes that remote workers can soon feel isolated, disenfranchised, and unhappy, the victims of unintentional behavior in an organization that failed to build a coherent model of, and capabilities for virtual work. The Research further notes that the sense of belonging, common purpose, and shared identity that inspires all of us to do our best work gets lost. Organizational performance deteriorates accordingly.
Companies are now caught in a Catch-22 situation and trying to decide their strategy.
- How far do we go in Remote Resource Management?
- Should we allow our Organizational Culture to be diluted or even altered?
- Is it acceptable to just focus on the financial performance of the company?
In a normal business scenario, it would have been relatively easy to decide. However, given the Covid-19 impact, it appears to be a real challenge. Organizations are testing different strategies such as –
- Some employees work from office while some work from home Work from office for a couple of days a week.
- Some employees work from office while some work from home
- Work from office for a couple of days a week.
As you reimagine the post-pandemic organization, business leaders must –
- pay attention to the effect of their choices on the organizational norms and culture.
- focus on the ties that bind a company’s employees together.
- pay heed to core aspects of your own leadership and that of your broader group of leaders and managers.
- select technology tools that support and enhance organizational culture.
We do not know when the Covid-19 would be controllable. Till such time employees are not able to work from office, businesses must review and invest in software solutions that enhances the quality of Remote Resource Management by bringing employees together, foster collaboration, deliver results, and keep the organizational culture intact.
While evaluating solutions for Remote Resource Management, it may be worth mentioning that the chosen software must be integrated with an employee’s day-to-day responsibilities. Some examples of seamless collaboration could be between –
- portfolio managers and business heads when evaluating new project business cases
- proposal teams and delivery managers while working on customer RFPs.
- Project manager and team members while working on projects
- engineers and designers while generating new ideas
- procurement professionals and finance managers during the procurement process and…many more!
Bringing employees together and letting them collaborate must take both formal and informal methods such as-
- Chats and notes
- Reviews and approvals
- Integrate elements of social computing such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter – posting pictures, celebrations, recognition, emoticons, and others.
It must be reiterated that nothing can substitute a face-to-face interaction.
That being said, we at ProductDossier realized the power of integrating Remote Resource Management into our flagship product – TouchBase. Apart from the usual timesheets, leave management, and expense reporting, TouchBase incorporates the best of Remote Resource Management while keeping our core focus intact, i.e., building a project management culture for your enterprise!
We would love to start a collaboration with you!
Are you ready?