My job currently requires that I am physically present at two separate locations with relative consistency. One cannot be in two places at once, but managing multiple service points, especially ones with drastically divergent stakeholders and user groups is not a simple proposition. Granted, the move to a more hybrid working environment has meant that virtual meetings and shared expectations around the term "physical" are not without precedents.
In reality, my work life has changed in one key way, which may lend itself to more intentionality than someone with a single office environment: I have to check my calendar every morning to assess where I am most needed. I also need to think through the feasibility of getting specific tasks done if they are at a different location than my desk for the day or if relocation is possible during the workday.
One thing I have been working on in my leadership program is delegation, so perhaps not always physically sharing space with tasks is a good means of reminding myself that delegation is necessary. If leaders don't delegate tasks, they miss out on a few things of note:
- Coaching: building competency and capacity in others, namely reports.
- Variety: taking on new, higher-level tasks and topics that would otherwise be relegated to the wishlist.
- Strategy: ensuring that the future isn't predicated on the tasks of today.
- Maybe one more, depending on the field: shifting focus entirely away from more physical, operational type work.
Managing people and projects from afar is not without its difficulties, though. The following areas require the most forethought and intentionality in practice when it is less possible to share physical space with the people who report to you (especially if your unit didn't have to do it pre-pandemic or doesn't have a culture for it already):
- Open communication, frequent checkins, and progress reports
- Shared tools for note-taking, documentation, and work tracking
- Commonly held expectations for teamwork dynamics and goal-setting