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A Manager’s Guide to Successfully Managing a Hybrid or Fully Remote Workforce

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Cecilia Gorman


When the “future of work” comes up, one of the first conversations is usually about hybrid or remote work. But, according to PwC’s US Remote Work Survey, the “new normal” includes work-from-home opportunities. You can successfully manage a hybrid or fully remote workforce.

While some managers and employees are entirely content to abandon the office space, others prefer a hybrid workforce with employees rotating in and out of offices as needed. In short, flexibility is the key to the future of the hybrid or remote workforce.

But hybrid and remote work isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are inherent challenges and trade-offs when managing remote employees vs. in-office employees, and preparing for the shift to more remote work takes some strategy.

How Things Have Changed for Managers in a Remote and Hybrid World

When the pandemic hit, businesses had to adapt quickly to continue operations in the wake of lockdowns and employees’ fears. However, many were able to make this shift quickly and with minimal hiccups, eventually proving that remote work could succeed.

The Learning Curve

Remote work did come with some learning curves, however. The structure of day-to-day operations went AWOL. There was less delineation between workday start time and end time. Without the “9 to 5” structure in place — boundaries for both employees and employers were easily crossed.

The Employee Balancing Act

Employees had to balance home and family requirements, such as caring for their now home-schooled children, dogs barking during a Zoom conference call, or managing multiple family members working in the same household with the workload, meeting schedules, and deadlines.

Communication

Communication modes also shifted – what was once an office meeting became a video conference call, an email, or a chat on Teams or Slack.

Virtually every aspect of the job was new and different, leaving managers feeling less prepared and less confident in their roles. In addition, managers lost their most effective mode of communication and in-person check-ins, increasing the chances of frustration and miscommunication that occurs when there is less face-to-face time.

Common Challenges of Remote Work

A remote workforce typically means fully remote, 100-percent work-from-home employees, while a hybrid workforce integrates both in-office work with at-home work. The breakdown of in-office vs. at-home work may vary according to the needs of the business.

Learning Cloud Tech When Managing a Hybrid or Fully Remote Workforce

A fundamental technology in remote or hybrid work is cloud technology. While this is excellent for keeping everyone connected throughout the work day, it also means that employees are working on-the-go some of the time. There’s more freedom but less unity without a centralized location for communications, such as a conference room.

Higher Level of Freedom With Fully Remote Employees

Both employees and employers or managers have higher levels of freedom — they can work where they want and when they want, in some environments. However, the inevitable switch up of work venues complicates communications since employees and managers may be on asynchronous schedules, requiring more coordination to connect.

What About Training and Miscommunications in Hybrid Workforce?

In addition, the lack of in-person training can take its toll. In-person training interactions enhance emotional engagement — so without the “human element” of the workplace — the team can become isolated and disengaged.

There’s also a greater chance of miscommunication, insufficient communication, or information silos that occur between departments, hindering productivity. Employees no longer have the “mutual knowledge” and social cues from face-to-face interactions, which can illuminate situations.

For example, an employee may be having a bad day and a little snippy in communications. In a face-to-face situation, a manager may let this slide after knowing the day has been particularly difficult (as long as it’s not disrespectful) but may not be as tolerant in virtual settings because they don’t know about those stressors.

Finally, both employees and managers may struggle with distractions, such as children at home, taking care of housework like laundry or preparing meals, or simply ambient sound from a television, traffic, mail delivery, etc. While it’s important to note that most employees feel more productive in a remote or hybrid environment, the distractions at home can impact productivity.

Micromanagement is Counterproductive — Manging While Being Supportive

Productivity concerns lead to another issue – micromanagement. Without the ability to observe and supervise employees in an office environment, some managers may be concerned that employees aren’t working hard enough, leading to micromanagement.

Micromanagement is counterproductive. The concerns about employee productivity at home has been assuaged following the pandemic, not to mention that employees experience poor mental and physical health effects from being micromanaged. They may also think that their managers are being unsupportive or distrustful.

Ways to Successfully Manage a Remote or Hybrid Team

Create Structure Where It Makes the Most Sense

For some workplaces, a 9-to-5 schedule still makes sense, even for a remote or hybrid team – the clock-in is just virtual. For workplaces allowing a flexible schedule and deadlines or tasks instead of hours — structure can be established with a daily check-in.

You have numerous options for a daily check-in, from one-on-one calls to team calls to a group chat on communication apps. The right choice depends on the type of work (collaborative or independent), but the most essential feature is the check-ins are predictable and scheduled and take place in an expected format. During these check-ins, you and the employee or employees can address progress on work, concerns, or questions.

Set Ground Rules and Expectations for Remote/Hybrid Workforce

Remote work can be efficient and productive, but it’s up to the manager to create expectations for the team regarding response times, online presence, and availability. For example, you could say that videoconferencing is required for daily check-in meetings, but an instant message on Slack is preferred for urgent or private communications.

Communication Will be One of Your Most Complicated Issues With Hybrid Employees

In addition, both you and the employees should have an understanding of the best communication channels and times to connect during the workday, especially in asynchronous environments. For example, you may be available for Zoom meetings or phone calls later in the day, but prefer texts early if there’s an urgent conversation.

You also need to monitor and supervise the communication between employees and teams to ensure they’re all sharing the information they need to. Of course, miscommunication can happen in virtual workforces, but clear manager communication regarding expectations can minimize communication mishaps.

Provide Options for Employee Contribution Remotely

As mentioned, some workplaces require set hours for all employees. However, it’s good to offer flexibility on how, when, and where an employee works if you can. One of the significant benefits of work-from-home models is that employees have more satisfaction, better productivity, and better work-life balance with more control over their schedule.

For example, an employee may be more productive early in the morning before the kids get up, or a creative type may prefer to work in the evening (as many do). Providing this flexibility allows your employees the opportunity to manage their time and motivation as it suits them.

Curate Connection

One of the trade-offs of remote work is that employees may experience social isolation from a lack of face-to-face interaction with other employees. Managers can combat this by structuring ways for employees to interact socially while working remotely.

When Do You Have Social Hour? Facilitate the Social Aspects of Remote Employees

In practice, interacting socially means time allowed for employees to have informal conversations about topics not related to work. This can be done by setting aside time at the beginning of team calls to “catch up” with each other, or by hosting virtual video conference parties that include care packages sent to each team member.

While it may seem a bit odd to facilitate social events in a virtual space, remember that it works well for concerts and other forms of entertainment. Furthermore, managers who use this type of social interaction have seen reduced feelings of isolation and greater collaboration with their remote employees.

Up Your Communication Efforts With Hybrid or Fully Remote Workforces

In a startling shift to remote work, employees can experience higher levels of stress, concerns, anxieties, or insecurities — but it can happen with a seasoned remote team as well. Therefore, it’s vital for virtual leadership managers to listen, connect, and empathize with the employees.

What Changed in Communication With Managing a Hybrid or Fully Remote Workforce?

Active listening is essential when the business has sudden changes or a crisis. Research into emotional intelligence reveals that employees refer to their managers for signals about how to react to situations in the workplace. If the manager seems stressed or unsure, the employee will too.

Effective managers should address communication by checking in on the emotional state of employees and listening to their concerns and fears. During that conversation, it’s important to provide encouragement and show appreciation to ensure the employee that everyone is part of the team.

Key Takeaways

Managing a remote or hybrid team isn’t as scary or stressful as it seems. Once you oversee the challenges effectively and adapt to the changes — you’ll enjoy a better work-life balance. In addition, you’ll likely see flexibility, engagement, and better productivity from your employees.

Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Cecilia Gorman

Wildly addicted to all things leadership, Cecilia Gorman is a veteran of the advertising industry and the owner of Creative Talent Partners, a virtual leadership training program that specializes in the development of rising managers and their teams. Whether it’s a team offsite, a manager workshop or through her online Manager Training Boot Camp course , Cecilia’s sole pursuit is adding value to growth-focused employees.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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