As an IT program manager, I have long felt that there is no better form of communication than two people face to face at a white board. I am an advocate of teams sitting close together to collaborate. The Agile way. While Agile teams usually sit together, there is another element of Agile more important than where people sit. Trust. Trust is the key to successful teams.
When the pandemic hit and everyone had to work from home, I thought it would crush team efficiency. Like many things in life that I made presumptions about, I was wrong. The remote program teams I have worked with have been productive and efficient. We use tools like MS Teams to collaborate throughout the day. In many ways, the remote work has brought about more efficiency. It has eliminated the time required to prepare and travel to the office.
Remote work provides companies with cost savings due to requiring less office space. This and the fact that work productivity remains high will make working from home permanent for many. This is especially true for those who work in technology. For this reason, the task for managers in 2021 is to improve and promote trust.
Once Covid-19 took hold in 2020, many in management had difficulty adjusting to a new way of working from home. They did not empower and trust their staff, they micromanaged. This combined with kids being home from school drove stress and burnout through the roof for many. Work life balance got way out of whack.
The key to managing those working from home is trust. Towards the second half of 2021 things will start to return to some level of normalcy. In the meantime, let us trust employees to do their jobs, whether they are in the office or not.
About the Author: Mike MacIsaac is a principal IT consultant for MacIsaac Consulting, providing IT Agile and cyber security consulting.