The nature of work as we know it changes daily. As workers navigate their new reality—from fully-remote offices to hybrid schedules—team leaders and project managers must oversee the transition and adapt as they go. By listening and keeping the trains running on time, a leader can juggle the team’s shifting needs and make their lives easier, such as by reducing unnecessary meetings.
It’s a tricky needle to thread. Sure, 87 percent of business leaders believe that improving collaboration is critical to the success of their organizations, but how do we get there from here?
There’s a new script for becoming a leader and innovator at work. (And yes, it can be done from home.) Here are four ways to pull it off:
1. Reduce meeting time
Now that Zoom is the coin of the realm, employees often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of meetings. “I’ll find some time on your cal.” “Let me just schedule a 30-minute Zoom.” One study found that a full 50 percent of meetings are unnecessary. To usher in real change, leaders and PMs need to work with their team members to figure out when to meet, who really needs to be there, and build out guardrails for efficiency. (Check out our Meetings 101 one-sheet for more actionable tips!) Your team will thank you later.
2. Think async
When team members are scattered across multiple time zones and working on different schedules, asynchronous (aka “async”) communication is more important than face time. A personalized tool like Dropbox Capture can help team members share all the relevant materials (GIFs, videos, screen shots) for a project so stakeholders can review the work when their schedules permit. (No more spending an hour over Zoom walking through a presentation with your entire team.)
3. Build consensus for stronger DEI
Changing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices and accelerating social justice initiatives requires buy-in at the executive level. But the real work can happen within the rank-and-file employees who encourage and cajole higher-ups to recognize issues and rectify problems.
PMs and team leaders are in key positions to help facilitate these changes. They have the trust of team members who can speak honestly and openly about issues they face, identify the pain points, and note where an organization is failing. By organizing, creating task forces, and following skillful project management practices, leaders can stay focused and effect real transformation across company-wide.
A good PM can spur true change by doing what they do daily: empowering team members to speak, listening to what they have to say, and passing suggestions up the chain of command.
4. Use templates; save hours
A cohesive set of best practices for documents and contracts can increase efficiency and reduce mistakes. Who better to help guide that process than the PMs and team leaders who work on these day in, day out? Consider easy-to-use, simple-to-adjust templates from Dropbox Sign, and create a standard process for getting contracts produced and signed. Standardization is smart business. (Check out our virtual-first toolkit!)
It’s PMs and team leaders who see business realities on a day-to-day basis, not those at the executive levels. Uniquely positioned to understand the wants and needs of their teams—both in the moment and down the line—they can benefit their colleagues enormously. It’s never too early to start becoming a change leader at work.