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Ask Dr. Sharkey: What Can I Do Today to Prepare for Tomorrow’s Remote Workforce?

Posted by Dr. Linda Sharkey on 5.21.2018

Sharkey

Every month, leadership expert Dr. Linda Sharkey answers your most burning questions about future-proofing your workplace. Dr. Sharkey is widely acknowledged as one of the world's preeminent thought leaders on global leadership development, and her book, The Future-Proof Workplace, proves the future is here and is altering the way leaders and their teams work.

What can I do to start preparing now, before we’re completely remote, to make sure that doesn’t happen?

“Hi Dr. Sharkey! By the year 2030 (or before), we plan on having a fully-remote workforce. While it makes sense financially and would give our employees more freedom/work-life balance, I do fear our employees’ experiences and connection to work will suffer. What can I do to start preparing now, before we’re completely remote, to make sure that doesn’t happen? Thank you very much!”

By 2030, work will be completely different. Our view of a brick-and-mortar office will be turned upside down. Today, managers work in global teams and really don’t need to be in an office at all.  

There will be so much new technology available to keep people connected, it will not seem like they are working from home. There will be greater opportunities for people to connect via interfaces which seem live and host virtual team meetings with remote employees that feel like they’re in the same room -- and versions of that technology exist today.

Along with improved communication, we will be using different tools to celebrate one another without being in an office together.

I remember recently walking into the office and hardly anyone was there. They were out with customers or working from home. Today, global organizations don’t need all the office time but they do need the tools to create meaningful connections and a sense of belonging. And that will come with improved technology.  

It is the quality of communication, a culture of respect, and trust of leaders who care about those they work with that will make the difference as to whether an organization is successful. We have to break the old views of the workplace and realize that technology is here to stay and will only be getting better -- enabling better, more powerful human connections.

But my biggest piece of advice is this: use technology, don’t shy away from it.

When something new comes on board, test it, try it, and make it work for you. Become comfortable with building relationships with remote employees. FaceTime with colleagues regularly or use whatever interface your organization has. Check-in with people and create relationships that build insight into your team as a whole that builds trust. Organizations also need to create opportunities for new teams to get to know each other and do team building, even with remote employees.

Dr. Linda Sharkey is a best-selling author and in-demand speaker and coach. She is dedicated to helping businesses prepare for the future and developing leaders and teams to support company growth.

Topics: future workplace, ask dr. sharkey

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