For some, the transition to remote work is easy. It’s flexible, reduces or eliminates travel time, and can often streamline processes. For others, however, it’s a significant challenge—and there are plenty of reasons why.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, significant change is inevitable. Whether you’re a leader, manager, or the heart of the workforce, shifting to remote work inherently changes the relationship that exists between you, your co-workers, your superiors, your employees, and your work—all thanks to a change in structure.
While flexibility is often heralded as the key benefit of remote work, it’s also one of the biggest culprits in preventing workers from making a smooth transition into their new environment. Why? Because despite the rigidity, structure provides the framework necessary for us to avoid distraction, work and communicate efficiently, and provide reliability for others on the team. Too much flexibility tends to disrupt these systems.
So to help you manage your own transition, while also providing support to help your team to flourish, we’re here to provide a system of management designed for a remote or distributed workforce that will help you foster connection, engagement, and performance so you can contribute to the fulfillment of your personal tasks and achieve company objectives.
Rhythms, Routines, and Rituals
As habitual creatures, we frequently overlook the fact that we have regular patterns in our day-to-day activities—and beyond that, fail to acknowledge the kind of impact that structure has on our daily lives. For example, something as simple as a broken coffee maker can shift the amount of time, patience, and energy we start our days with.
For that very reason, it’s easy to see why an entire day can be uprooted by even a small series of otherwise seemingly insignificant events. To help eliminate opportunities for these types of issues to arise, we’ve codified a unique system of management that allows teams (as individuals and as a whole) to thrive in times of change. We’ve broken it down into rituals, routines, and rhythms.
Why is it important to create this type of structure? Not only are you affecting your own day, week, month, year, but you’re also affecting those around you with your attitude, your attention, and your actions.
The end goal is to create a work system that fosters more cohesion, collaboration, and commitment to elevate individual and team performance, even when you can’t be together physically. Here’s how:
Rituals: This can look like organizational ceremonies that are used to deepen connection and embed company values. These ceremonies might take the form of how your company celebrates success, debriefs after a won or lost business pursuit, or how new team members become immersed into an organization’s culture. While you may have had some of these rituals laid out before going remote, it’s important to figure out new rituals to help keep company culture alive and thriving, even from a distance.
This will help your current and new employees understand the company values without them having to be told to them all the time. It will immerse them in what’s important and help to create the kind of culture you’re looking to build. It’s these rituals that will ultimately help create more order, consistency, and connection for individuals, leaders, and teams.
Routines: This might look different for each individual, but it would be a good idea to help people come to a place where they prioritize important tasks so everyone knows what needs to be done first, and what’s the most important thing for moving the company forward as a whole. This will go a long way in helping people find their flow and stay in it, leading to more productive work days.
Routines could also shine in the meeting room (or, over video chat). Having a structured team meeting that’s used to advance a strategic initiative is a great way to not only bring your team together, but also help them know what to expect and be better prepared for future meetings.
Setting up some routines for your team while they’re working remotely will also give them more structure to their day, helping them to plan out what they need to do around the meeting. We generally recommend setting standard morning, afternoon, and evening routines.
Rhythms: The way in which you conduct your meetings—whether one-on-ones, team meetings, or performance-based discussions—can lend a hand to the overall engagement and connectedness of your employees. Finding the right frequency and duration (or, rhythm) for your meetings might be a fine line, but it’s one you’re going to want to investigate.
While meetings do have the ability to become long, cause participants to lose interest, or just be better served as an email, they also have the ability to boost employee engagement, help you stay connected to your colleagues, and stay on task with your business as a whole.
While remote work is going to look different for every individual and every company, it’s important to set up certain rituals, routines, and rhythms to help your employees ease the transition and know what to expect.
This Rituals, Routines, and Rhythms fillable template is a great tool to help you figure out a system of management that is going to work best for your organization as we move forward into a new era of work.
Whether it’s the circumstances or the natural development of the workforce to move towards remote work, there will always be challenges. But with the right people, mentality, resources, and effort, we’ll all get there a whole lot faster—together.