In moving among organizations today we are encountering one situation that is rearing its’ head more and more. It occurs in companies that operate from multiple national or international locations. It’s a situation that brings definite opportunities and some very real challenges that apply to both leadership and employee team members alike. Specifically, the execution of one’s job responsibilities with the added complexities related to distance, time zone variance, basic communication and other elements of their life calls for a master juggler. It’s pretty much a certainty that if you reading this blog you either work at such a company or know others who do. Here’s the good news … like most all challenges, making things better is possible.
First, however, it’s important that we all understand that companies establish such a wide-spread structure for the advantages that it offers. Attracting needed talent, ability to expand ones’ marketplace for distribution and the potential impact on costs are some.
As is often the case, with advantages come challenges and in this situation, their resolutions differ whether viewed from the perspective of the leader or the employee. As such, and I will address them separately in a two-part blog.
Part I …The Employee
You took the job because of many right reasons.
- the challenge in general
- the nature of the work that allowed you to apply your expertise in an exciting and rewarding manner
- the ability to affiliate with a company that offered you a desired challenge
- the value that you know you brought to the organization
- the ability to have all of this and avoid uprooting your family and all this can bring
- the compensation and other related realities that were offered to you as an employee
Great! And perhaps what you didn’t anticipate or did, and thought we could handle it, was the impact on you personally in your work and overall life. Here are some reported issues:
- The need to juggle your hours to accommodate the expectation to be in remote meetings with those in the home office and in different time zones that can be many hours earlier or later than yours’. Often this requires that you contribute time that is potentially far outside of the willing and anticipated i.e. 10 hour work day
- The need to sacrifice personal family time when not available to have the involvement that you consider important and desirable.
- The loss of sleep due to the need to be available for calls and meetings that require your involvement beginning very early in the morning and again often very late at night.
- With the above, a slow loss of enthusiasm for the job and the company as you build resentment for what is actually required as you see it.
- An awareness of unhappiness that is permeating the entire family for what you are not available to do with them.
- First and foremost, maintain a real awareness of all the reasons that attracted you to the job initially as those reasons are most likely still valid. Make a list and post it where you can be reminded daily.
- What have you encountered that you see as a job requirement that is different than what you anticipated or were told. Ask yourself if these requirements are clear expectations of the job or some that you presume go with the job? If you’re presuming, you have some clarifying to do.
- What are the specific disappointments that you feel stuck with in your job? In identifying them you will also have identified what you want to change to make this continuing long-term feasible and positive.
- What things do you find yourself involved in that perhaps, are not a requirement of your position? Rather, something you started doing that you have imposed on yourself … possibly, in the name of doing a good job and making a good impression? Meetings? Conference calls? Maybe it’s time to rethink these things as a means of getting greater control over your work day.
- Knowing the nature of your organization, were you to design your position in a way that would allow you to still achieve your responsibilities yet be more ‘workable’ for you, how might you set that up? What would be the same and what would be different? What are your solutions to the very issues that are negatives as you experience them?
Once you have created your ideas of how to alter and improve the execution of your responsibilities you have the basis for making constructive suggestions to management that will probably be welcome … by management and co-workers alike. After all, why wait for others to make the needed changes. In seeing this as your responsibility, you have the opportunity to improve the current negatives of your job and along the way, show the potential you have for being sent up the success ladder as leader. How’s that as a reward for speaking up … even from a distance?
NOTE: I will view this situation as experienced by the company management soon. Stay tuned.