Distributed work programs – which include activity-based work arrangements, remote work centers, coworking, teleworking and home agents – are reaching a tipping point among employers world-wide. It is becoming quite common for organizations to adopt workplace practices that allow team members the flexibility to work anywhere, any time.

Are your managers a primary source of internal change resistance?

In the planning of a distributed work program, you may find that today’s organizational habits, traditions, work patterns and even daily routines are incompatible with the new workplace. How will you know? If after you announce your distributed work program, questions from managers like these will offer ample evidence:

“How will I manage people I don’t see?” This signals the need for a management skills upgrade and accountability process overhaul.

“How can I call a meeting if everyone is away?” This suggests there may be a need to re-think current meeting effectiveness, and perhaps even shift some meetings to virtual.

“If my team is always away from the office, how will they collaborate?” First, the typical teleworker works away once or twice a week. Second, emerging collaboration tools bring teams closer digitally, so collaboration is brought to a whole new level.

“How will I tell a poor performer they cannot participate?” Poor performers should already know they won’t likely participate before they ask. Smart managers use this opportunity to reward improved performance with mobile work.

–You can think of workplace change as disruptive, or you can leverage it to stimulate engagement, productivity, accountability and collaboration. It’s your choice.–

The fact is, managing in a high-performing distributed workplace requires skills, processes and routines that should already be in place. A management skills makeover may become among the many unexpected benefits of your workplace change program, resulting in improved leadership, accountability, team-building, relationships and engagement.

Preparing your managers for change is essential for program success

As the pace of technology-induced workplace change quickens, preparing your managers is essential for an efficient, orderly enterprise transition to ‘the other side.’  Successful organizations use quality training to bring worker and manager skills up to date simultaneously with knowledge, tips and tools designed successfully transition teams to the distributed work environment.

Are you ready to leverage a little disruption?

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See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways.

Register to see the Managing Distributed Teams course outline.