Increased acceptance of the work from home model has been the corporate disruption of our generation. The number of Americans working from home has skyrocketed from roughly 6% (pre-pandemic) to 33%.If we were to apply Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” to this extraordinary change in business ethos, we’d be foolish to assume that remote leaders are instinctively prepared to guide their newly remote teams. In fact, 60% of those who are now working from home say that they feel less connected to their co-workers and leaders.
Healthcare technology has also undergone a similar transformation. Social distancing, take home Covid tests, and video conferencing with healthcare practitioners delivered wider acceptance of telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
Interestingly, the fundamentals for managing a remote workforce and the principles for utilizing effective healthcare technology are eerily similar. Each addresses the continuously changing needs of stakeholders, while holding true to the basic tactics and tenets that have emerged as non-negotiables.
Setting goals and being held accountable to them has always been a fundamental strategy for high level performance. Working toward a goal’s completion, specifically when it comes to healthcare, calls for careful and collaborative planning. Intuitive healthcare technology and top-flight managers come to understand an individual’s strengths and limitations when developing short- and long-term goals.
Just as remote managers are finding increasing levels of success with their work-from-home teams through collaborative goal setting, healthcare technologies, particularly those related to telehealth and remote patient monitoring, are primed for success when they start from the same place.
The best remote managers find success with their teams when they manage expectations. In other words, they aid in planning and developing a blueprint for achieving realistic goals.
The same is true for any health care technology worth its salt. Regardless of whether we are talking about an app, a wearable, or a telehealth portal, the technology should assist in establishing the motivations, scope, deadlines, and deliverables for each goal, task, or project. Success in managing expectations occurs when everyone understands the alignment between roles and responsibilities and the overall goal. Think about it like Covey and, “begin with the end in mind.”
Managing Performance…not Time
One of the toughest challenges for a new remote leader is giving up control of the physical work environment. For some, seeing reports at their desks during the workday is reassuring. The key to relinquishing this predisposition is to ditch the long-held (and probably incorrect) belief that people are engaged in their work simply because they are “on the clock.” Focusing, instead, on agreed upon outcomes and milestones will provide all the data one may need to indicate who is performing up to snuff and who might need a little help.
The same is true for advances in healthcare technology. Instead of continuous trips to the doctor to monitor sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeats, medical devices like pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and heart rhythm (EKG) monitors are providing individuals with the same tools and technology that were once exclusive property of hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices.
Actionable and reliable data that can be accessed with the click of a button is every remote manager and health professional’s best friend.
Being present with a remote workforce is a fundamental key to success. Checking in means managers are ensuring that projects are on pace, important information is being disseminated, and that there are opportunities for suggestions and support. These are literally some of the same reasons for check-ins when remotely managing healthcare through technology.
Check-ins were inconsistent when everyone was in the office, imagine how scarce they can become in a remote setting. This lack of oversight and guidance is sometimes cunningly referred to as “autonomy.” The truth is care should be taken whenever we intentionally provide space for self-sufficiency. That’s because, regardless of the reason it’s given, autonomy can be viewed as either ultimate trust or complete ambivalence. The key is for managers and healthcare tech to cultivate the right mix of oversight and freedom for every individual.
The final step in the process for managing a remote workforce is typically the one that is most often overlooked. Committing to goal setting, progress monitoring, and support, only to ignore the outcome is big no-no. Remote managers who do not purposefully celebrate their team’s successes usually fail to see similar achievements repeated. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the exact same is true with healthcare technology.
The sense of satisfaction and inspiration that comes from a job well done is scientifically proven. Whether it’s a smart watch vibrating in celebration of completing a daily health goal or an employer honoring an employee by posting a video to its social media page, feedback for accomplishments is intoxicating and addictive. We like the feelings associated with approval and we will look for opportunities to experience it again and again.
Improving connectivity is one of the biggest challenges facing remote leaders and healthcare technology. Setting goals, monitoring progress, and celebrating success have evolved as critical tools for bridging gaps in a remote world. Now it’s time to ensure that we consistently put them to good use.