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管理者的建议:疫情下的远程办公,如何避免低效?

管理者的建议:疫情下的远程办公,如何避免低效?

Jesper Knutell 2020年03月08日
远程办公也许不是所有问题的答案,但是如果你在今天拥抱这个改变,那么没准会让你的企业解锁新技能。

在过去的一个月中,中国人民的生活和经济都承受着新冠肺炎疫情带来的巨大考验:加长版的春节假期、居家隔离、延迟复工接踵而至。作为一个瑞典人,我的朋友圈里有至少半数以上的企业都在采取居家模式开展业务。

挑战随之而来

居家办公、远程工作对大部分中国员工而言还是一个新鲜事物,对企业领导又何尝不是?用在办公室里的那一套来管理团队,肯定难以奏效。无法共处一室、面对面沟通,团队一时之间难以适应,合作也会变得更复杂和艰难生涩。

在我过去15年的职业生涯中,在远程办公上遇到过的坎也不少。在瑞典的文化里,我们通常不会直接告诉别人解决方案,而是大家通过讨论达成一致,共同找到答案。因此,当遇到问题时,我的第一反应就是——引导!指引团队寻找最佳的决策。

但当我和团队分隔两地时,尤其是当项目中充满不确定性时,这一招通常会失效。当你想着授权团队成员自己寻找方向时,你的团队可能正渴望你可以给出明确的建议和行动步骤。这只会带来两个结果:作为领导的我会因为项目毫无进展而恼火不已,团队里的成员也因为摸不到头脑而沮丧无助。

还有一个大“坑”就是沟通效率问题。即使在面对面的情况下沟通都有可能出岔子,更何况在远程工作时,少了肢体语言和眼神交流,我们几乎失去了所有判断信息传达和接收的信号灯。

我跟团队中层领导们共同商讨的决策,是否能被准确无误地传达到公司的每个角落,并被精准地执行?结果有可能事与愿违。

低效沟通里面有很多可能的原因,沟通不充分、理解错误、缺乏认同、当事人并没有仔细听或正忙着别的要务都有可会影响最终的达成。这跟我们小时候玩的“拷贝不走样”简直是一模一样。(是的,瑞典人小时候也玩这个游戏,至少在儿时的沟通小游戏上,中瑞两国如出一辙。)

还记得我初来中国时,团队里有成员总是将我的“指导意见”当成是金科玉律步步谨遵,也有成员会把我的“指令”当作是“建议”处理,导致我常常怀疑团队的执行能力。不得不承认,我个人依然在摸索更好的沟通方式以及更有效果的远程协作模式。这是一个持续改进的过程,也不会有终点。

信任是关键

近来与许多企业的高层管理人员聊天时都会谈及员工居家办公的效率问题。我的朋友们都或多或少有这样那样的担忧,他们担心员工在丝毫没有监管压力的环境中可能会偷懒或者效率低下。我的第一反应是:如果你不信任自己招聘来的人,那你当初为什么要把人家招来?

作为一名职业经理人,我对自己的要求就是,最大程度地信任我的团队,除非他们用自己的行动向我证明他们不值得信任。我的管理哲学是:我扮演导师的角色,帮助团队明确目标和方向,下放权力,让团队自己找到正确的方法来达成目标。

当然了,团队的表现也时不时会给我一些惊喜或者是惊吓。有的成员会非常欣喜于这种自由度和信任度,因此表现出色,甚至超过预期。也有人会因为过于自由而不知所措。作为导师,我的工作就是仔细观察并尽可能早地进行干预、给予具体的帮助。只有这样,团队才能按照我预想的轨道和进度运转。

在远程协作中,这种提早干预措施比想象中更难。在面对面的会议中,你的团队可能都不敢或不愿开口求救,更何况是在远程的会议中?更糟糕的是,连对方是否在全神贯注地参与会议我都无法判断。在会议中走神儿简直太稀松平常了,一条短信就能让我们分神。大概没有人会否认,电话会议一旦超过30分钟,大家开小差的几率就开始急速上升。

从另外一个角度而言,家庭环境里办公虽然存在一些干扰因素(尤其是当孩子们也在家学习时!),但同样的,员工们不需要在路上花两个小时通勤,也不会有别的同事每隔5分钟就来打断他们的思路。

远程协作的时代已经来了

在过去的十年间,世界上有许多国家和企业都早就开始落实远程办公了。在美国,居家办公是非常平常的事,在欧洲也越来越普遍。步入职场的年轻人们都生于网络时代,对他们而言,在线上沟通简直就和吃饭一样简单。远程办公,绝对不会是在疫情中昙花一现的防疫手段,而是不可回避的未来办公趋势。

新一代的员工,也不再只是为了钱而工作,尊重与关爱的文化、工作与生活的平衡、自由选择办公地点等,成了他们择业的重要考虑因素。作为企业,如果想要持续吸引人才、以正确的姿势激励员工,可能要从不抗拒远程办公开始。

几个建议

说起来容易,做起来可能还真是不简单。我个人也有一些小建议,可以与大家分享。

为团队建立清晰的目标。

确保每个人都有完全且正确的理解这个目标,以及他们每个人在这个目标的达成中应该扮演什么样的角色——不要只依赖口头沟通,书面沟通更能确保信息沟通的准确性。

给予团队充分的信任,在发现“迷路的小羊”时要提供及时的引导,助其归位。

避免频繁跟进,这通常会招致反效果。在定期的项目追踪会议中与团队更新进度会更有效。不过要注意控制会议的时长!

不同的工作地点会给团队带来全新的灵感和解决方案,请注意把握!

写在最后

我和我的团队远程协作已经持续了一个月,我们的工作并没有因为这次疫情而终止,相反我看到了整个团队蓬勃的创造力和执行力,大家的坚守岗位和聪明才智让我钦佩。

这使我更加有理由相信,如果我们给予团队足够的信任去迎接挑战,他们绝对有可能战胜。远程办公也许不是所有问题的答案,但是如果你在今天拥抱这个改变,那么没准会让你的企业解锁新技能。(财富中文网)

本文作者Jesper Knutell是英孚企业解决方案中国执行副总裁兼总经理、跨文化沟通专家,拥有20多年全球15个国家的坚实管理经验,曾经帮助多家《财富》世界500强企业打造国际化人才战略。

在过去的一个月中,中国人民的生活和经济都承受着新冠肺炎疫情带来的巨大考验:加长版的春节假期、居家隔离、延迟复工接踵而至。作为一个瑞典人,我的朋友圈里有至少半数以上的企业都在采取居家模式开展业务。

挑战随之而来

居家办公、远程工作对大部分中国员工而言还是一个新鲜事物,对企业领导又何尝不是?用在办公室里的那一套来管理团队,肯定难以奏效。无法共处一室、面对面沟通,团队一时之间难以适应,合作也会变得更复杂和艰难生涩。

在我过去15年的职业生涯中,在远程办公上遇到过的坎也不少。在瑞典的文化里,我们通常不会直接告诉别人解决方案,而是大家通过讨论达成一致,共同找到答案。因此,当遇到问题时,我的第一反应就是——引导!指引团队寻找最佳的决策。

但当我和团队分隔两地时,尤其是当项目中充满不确定性时,这一招通常会失效。当你想着授权团队成员自己寻找方向时,你的团队可能正渴望你可以给出明确的建议和行动步骤。这只会带来两个结果:作为领导的我会因为项目毫无进展而恼火不已,团队里的成员也因为摸不到头脑而沮丧无助。

还有一个大“坑”就是沟通效率问题。即使在面对面的情况下沟通都有可能出岔子,更何况在远程工作时,少了肢体语言和眼神交流,我们几乎失去了所有判断信息传达和接收的信号灯。

我跟团队中层领导们共同商讨的决策,是否能被准确无误地传达到公司的每个角落,并被精准地执行?结果有可能事与愿违。

低效沟通里面有很多可能的原因,沟通不充分、理解错误、缺乏认同、当事人并没有仔细听或正忙着别的要务都有可会影响最终的达成。这跟我们小时候玩的“拷贝不走样”简直是一模一样。(是的,瑞典人小时候也玩这个游戏,至少在儿时的沟通小游戏上,中瑞两国如出一辙。)

还记得我初来中国时,团队里有成员总是将我的“指导意见”当成是金科玉律步步谨遵,也有成员会把我的“指令”当作是“建议”处理,导致我常常怀疑团队的执行能力。不得不承认,我个人依然在摸索更好的沟通方式以及更有效果的远程协作模式。这是一个持续改进的过程,也不会有终点。

信任是关键

近来与许多企业的高层管理人员聊天时都会谈及员工居家办公的效率问题。我的朋友们都或多或少有这样那样的担忧,他们担心员工在丝毫没有监管压力的环境中可能会偷懒或者效率低下。我的第一反应是:如果你不信任自己招聘来的人,那你当初为什么要把人家招来?

作为一名职业经理人,我对自己的要求就是,最大程度地信任我的团队,除非他们用自己的行动向我证明他们不值得信任。我的管理哲学是:我扮演导师的角色,帮助团队明确目标和方向,下放权力,让团队自己找到正确的方法来达成目标。

当然了,团队的表现也时不时会给我一些惊喜或者是惊吓。有的成员会非常欣喜于这种自由度和信任度,因此表现出色,甚至超过预期。也有人会因为过于自由而不知所措。作为导师,我的工作就是仔细观察并尽可能早地进行干预、给予具体的帮助。只有这样,团队才能按照我预想的轨道和进度运转。

在远程协作中,这种提早干预措施比想象中更难。在面对面的会议中,你的团队可能都不敢或不愿开口求救,更何况是在远程的会议中?更糟糕的是,连对方是否在全神贯注地参与会议我都无法判断。在会议中走神儿简直太稀松平常了,一条短信就能让我们分神。大概没有人会否认,电话会议一旦超过30分钟,大家开小差的几率就开始急速上升。

从另外一个角度而言,家庭环境里办公虽然存在一些干扰因素(尤其是当孩子们也在家学习时!),但同样的,员工们不需要在路上花两个小时通勤,也不会有别的同事每隔5分钟就来打断他们的思路。

远程协作的时代已经来了

在过去的十年间,世界上有许多国家和企业都早就开始落实远程办公了。在美国,居家办公是非常平常的事,在欧洲也越来越普遍。步入职场的年轻人们都生于网络时代,对他们而言,在线上沟通简直就和吃饭一样简单。远程办公,绝对不会是在疫情中昙花一现的防疫手段,而是不可回避的未来办公趋势。

新一代的员工,也不再只是为了钱而工作,尊重与关爱的文化、工作与生活的平衡、自由选择办公地点等,成了他们择业的重要考虑因素。作为企业,如果想要持续吸引人才、以正确的姿势激励员工,可能要从不抗拒远程办公开始。

几个建议

说起来容易,做起来可能还真是不简单。我个人也有一些小建议,可以与大家分享。

为团队建立清晰的目标。

确保每个人都有完全且正确的理解这个目标,以及他们每个人在这个目标的达成中应该扮演什么样的角色——不要只依赖口头沟通,书面沟通更能确保信息沟通的准确性。

给予团队充分的信任,在发现“迷路的小羊”时要提供及时的引导,助其归位。

避免频繁跟进,这通常会招致反效果。在定期的项目追踪会议中与团队更新进度会更有效。不过要注意控制会议的时长!

不同的工作地点会给团队带来全新的灵感和解决方案,请注意把握!

写在最后

我和我的团队远程协作已经持续了一个月,我们的工作并没有因为这次疫情而终止,相反我看到了整个团队蓬勃的创造力和执行力,大家的坚守岗位和聪明才智让我钦佩。

这使我更加有理由相信,如果我们给予团队足够的信任去迎接挑战,他们绝对有可能战胜。远程办公也许不是所有问题的答案,但是如果你在今天拥抱这个改变,那么没准会让你的企业解锁新技能。(财富中文网)

本文作者Jesper Knutell是英孚企业解决方案中国执行副总裁兼总经理、跨文化沟通专家,拥有20多年全球15个国家的坚实管理经验,曾经帮助多家《财富》世界500强企业打造国际化人才战略。

The last 4 weeks, China has faced an unprecedented test of its economy’s resilience. Speaking to colleagues and friends, it’s clear that the whole country is eager to get back to work, but we’ve all been facing barriers such as extended Spring Festival, office closures and quarantines. All necessary actions to combat the NCV, but still frustrating for everyone involved. My very rough estimate is that half of China has been working from home these last weeks.

Challenges of virtual working

A challenge companies in China are facing now is that virtual or remote working is not part of the culture and many leaders are uncertain as to how to act in these situations. And it is true, you can’t lead in the same way virtually as you can when you are physically present. Team collaboration becomes more complicated and communication becomes less fluent when you can’t see each other.

Having managed teams virtually all over the world for the last 15 years I think I’ve made every mistake there is to make. As a Swede, I find it difficult sometimes to tell people what to do; you want to lead by consensus and making decisions together, and I’m always trying to coach the team towards the right decision—rather than dictate.

However, this is often not an effective strategy when working remotely and especially not when there is a lot of uncertainty. In these situations, people look for clear instructions and advice, and my approach has often resulted in me being frustrated with the lack of action taken and the teams being frustrated with the lack of direction.

I’ve also often underestimated the communication flow in the organization. When you discuss things with the management team, you hope that they will be able to pass on the right information to the team members. However, the reality is that there is a big black box between you and the team members. You hope that they have received the right communication via their leaders, but more often than not, I have seen that this is not the case. Often this happens because their leaders a) didn’t understand fully the message, b) didn’t agree with the message), c) interpreted the message differently than you intended, d) had different priorities at that moment, e) just didn’t listen, f) you were not clear enough, … and the list of reasons goes on and on.

When we were kids we used to play a game called Chinese Whispers. It’s a children’s game that starts off with player 1 whispering a message in the ear of player 2, who continues to whisper it to player 3, and it goes on until the last player who will announce the message they’ve heard to the entire group. It doesn’t require a lot of players for the message to completely change meaning.

In a similar way, this happens a lot in remote working. Without body language and eye contact, it’s difficult to assess whether or not a message has been correctly received. It’s difficult enough in person, but without meeting physically, even harder. In addition, to drive change, you need to repeat the same message over and over, but that could just make it worse if the original message wasn’t understood correctly.

In China over the last 1.5 years, I have encountered that some leaders follow a message word for word, when I intended it only as a guideline. I’ve also seen the opposite; some interpret is a very loose guideline when it is a hard rule or policy. While this has varied from office to office, it has left me bewildered as to whether something has been well implemented or not. And as you can see, I’m still on a journey to figure out what approach works best and how to best communicate with teams virtually. It’s a lifelong learning journey.

Trust is key

Many business leaders I’ve been speaking to lately have brought up that they worry about the productivity of their team members when they work from home. They don’t trust that their team members will do the right thing if no one is monitoring them. This reminds of a quote I read somewhere: If you don’t trust your people to work from home, why did you hire them in the first place?

As a manager, I’ve always trusted my team members from the first day we start working together until they prove me otherwise. This has had both positive and negative results on my teams’ performances. The way I like to manage is that I provide a vision and direction, and I trust my team to figure out the right actions to help us achieve this vision. I see myself as a guide and mentor and my experience is that many enjoy this freedom and perform better when given this trust.

However, many people also become paralyzed with indecisiveness when given this freedom, and as a leader you need to identify this early and help them, often by providing step by step instructions. Until you do, they will not perform at the level you expect.

Working virtually, this is even more difficult to do. How do you identify who needs more support? It’s difficult to get people to speak up in normal meetings. In virtual meetings it is the same, but with the additional challenge that you can’t even see if people are paying attention or even listening. I think we have all been part of virtual meetings when our minds have started drifting, or we’ve received a message on our phone and we’ve diverted our attention to responding to that message, and stopped listening. Let’s be honest, very few virtual meetings over 30 minutes are effective.

And I think we have to be realistic. Yes, when people work at home, they will have distractions (especially now when everyone’s kids are home from school), but in comparison they also don’t have to commute 2 hours per day, and they don’t have colleagues that interrupt them every 5 minutes and other office distractions.

The world is changing

There are many countries and companies around the world that have embraced virtual working over the last decade. In the US, it’s common that staff are home based, and it’s becoming more and more common in Europe as well. The new generation that is joining the workforce are digital natives. For them, communicating virtually is all they’ve ever known. So virtual working is not a temporary thing we’ve just been faced with due to the Corona virus, it’s the inevitable future.

As employers and leaders, we are facing an employee situation where freedom to choose where and when you work are important choices when choosing employers. Many employees are looking for work life balance, respect, a caring culture, not just money. As companies, we need to allow for a certain degree of this if we want to keep attracting talent and keeping them motivated.

A few suggestions

Personally, I think it comes down to a few simple principles when managing virtually.

Have a clear vision where you want to go.

Make sure everyone understands their role in this vision – use written communication to follow up on verbal communication.

Trust people to complete the objectives you set but ensure you help people that are ‘lost’ and explain clearly what needs to be done.

Don’t check in on people too often, it’s the one thing that kills motivation, I’ve found, but set regular virtual meetings to share updates. Make sure to keep them short.

Embrace new ideas; different working situation brings out different solutions.

Embrace the inevitable

Over the last four weeks working remotely with my team, I have seen people’s creativity blossom. Many of the initiatives that we have launched in the last weeks are down to individual team members’ ingenuity and drive. It never ceases to amaze me how a challenge often brings out the best in people, and if we trust our teams to overcome the challenge, the chances are that they will.

So, while working virtually is not the answer to everything, if you embrace it when you are faced with it and lead with trust, you might unlock new skills to help take your business to new levels. I’m sure we have.

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