Struggling to hit your stride at work? You’re not alone. Page Up recently hosted a Think Thursday on prioritization and motivation for communications teams. Umayma Abubakar, Director of Executive Communications and Corporate Center of Mubadala, explored the unique challenge of maintaining priorities when your workforce is split between the office and remote, and how to re-establish normalcy moving forward.
Communicators, and the stakeholders they support, have grown accustomed to the 24/7 service model that organizations adopted to meet the past two years of crises – but that level of productivity was never sustainable. Re-establishing boundaries and healthy work-life balance, and creating practices that enforce this goal, will be crucial for organizations that are looking to drive motivation and create progress toward their priorities.
Advice to Establish Priorities and Drive Motivation
- Set clear, realistic expectations for your team about working hours, responsibilities and key priorities. NOTE: If you want your direct reports to feel comfortable logging off at appropriate hours, model that behavior.
- Make a formal document that aligns your team’s day-to-day responsibilities with your broader strategic objectives, and prioritize the tasks that most closely align with the objectives.
- If you offer flexible working arrangements, make sure that employees receive equitable treatment, regardless of where they work from. Hold employees accountable to the same level of productivity.
- Make sure the metrics you are measuring your employees against are aligned with your organization’s big priorities.
- Practice saying no to asks that are not critical and do not align with your priorities; this skill will give your team a strategic edge in driving results for the organization.
- Obtain buy-in and alignment from executive leadership – this is crucial.
- Make sure that supervisors know what their direct reports are working on; ensure they have regular 1-on-1 discussions to set objectives, measure progress and align priorities. These should be two-way conversations, where both sides exchange expectations of each other.
Revisiting lessons learned
Early in the pandemic, many organizations struggled to adopt remote working practices. Now that the pandemic is (hopefully) waning, a similar issue is appearing for workers who usually work remotely, but want to visit the office occasionally. One attendee shared that her organization is taking an either/or stance for working remotely, not offering flexibility for those who want to come in on occasion; this calls to mind a previous Page Conversation on the topic of Return to Office plans for the Delta Variant. The key takeaways from that event are still applicable and worth a revisit.