You did it. You made it through the majority of the chaos. You figured out how your business can survive post-COVID. You pivoted. You are in, what seems like anyway, the “new normal”. At least, for now.
It finally feels like you can breathe. Your work days are making more sense and you are able to move out of the 24/7 reactive mode that seemed to consume Spring and Summer. You can start planning for the future of your business again.
Your employees are working from home now. It seems like they are getting their work done, but are they really pushing themselves like they did when they had the structure and routine of the office?
How do you know they are doing everything they should be doing?
How do you know they aren’t just sitting on the couch in their PJs partaking in a Netflix marathon?
How do you give employee reviews when many of the previous factors for performance are no longer visible?
With many employees working from home – and perhaps for the long haul – these are now common concerns for business owners. Working from home (WFH) has many more potential distractions than the office environment. Helping their children with virtual school or homeschooling. Utilizing work hours to get laundry done or accept the grocery delivery. As a business owner, how will you know that we are all doing our best to move this company forward?
Case in point…last week was awful. My dog, Sully, had a vet appointment where he got updated shots, which made him sick for days after. There were a ton of messes to clean up…rugs AND furniture. Nope, he could not simply puke or pee on the hardwood floor. Fabric had to be involved. Unfortunately, Sully didn’t understand that I needed him to get sick after 5PM – not during the workday!! Then my boyfriend’s son missed the school bus. Seriously?? Oh, and that got topped off by the stream of emails I received from his geometry teacher about missing assignments. The constant stream of everyone else’s “crises” kept pulling me out of productive mode.
These events are real. Things that we are all dealing with while working at home. The line between work and home has been blurred. While I am loving working at home, I found myself daydreaming about all the productivity I used to have while in the office. <SIGH>
So how do you as a business owner make sure you are getting the most out of your employees while they still have home life to deal with?
Compass Point is dealing with this same issue. We are in the same shoes! Here’s a tip that has helped us…..
Expectation vs Agreement
We just finished reading Crazy Good by Steve Chandler. (Crazy Good book, btw!) A concept that Steve talks about is that Expectations cause arguments and divide people. Agreements bring us together and prevent disagreements.
So what do you do with this concept?
Remember, as a business owner, that no one knows the expectations you have for your team except YOU, unless you communicate it! When it’s just what’s in your head, no one knows about it. So what do you need to do?
Make. An. Agreement.
Pull your team together, talk about your concerns, and build an agreement together.
What does a successful day at work look like?
What are the goals that I need to hit every day?
How many hours do we think we should work?
When should I be responsible to answer my phone or email?
These are just some of the questions that can help you and your team make agreements. By making an agreement about these items, everyone knows their role. Not only that, but everyone then has an understanding of what is acceptable and what is not. And we’ve agreed on this!
So, when I notice that Bob hasn’t reached his daily goals in a couple of days, I can ask him: “Bob, I noticed that you didn’t reach your goals the last two days. Is everything ok? Do you need help?” This is a way of holding each other accountable….but not in an uncomfortable way. Again, we’ve agreed on this!!! So, if someone isn’t pulling their weight as we’ve agreed upon, we can easily talk about it. We might find out that Bob’s a slacker watching Netflix all day. We might find out that Bob’s kids are really struggling with online schooling this week. Or we might find out that Bob’s stuck on an idea and could use a brainstorming session.
We can help each other. We can move the company forward, no matter what the issue is AND no matter where the work gets done. Because discussions are not off the table. Because accountability is not icky. They are easy—because we’ve made an agreement.
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