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How to Lead An Organization from a Distance

How to Lead An Organization from a Distance

Reidun Risøy Heyerdahl
29. Apr 2020 | 6 min read

How to Lead An Organization from a Distance

The Covid-19 situation has disrupted and rearranged our workplace with breathtaking speed. In the span of a week, organizations across the world, in every sector, sent millions of employees home to work remotely. Without warning — and in many cases, without preparation of any kind.

Leading and supporting an organization has never been easy. It’s challenging enough to manage yourself in quarantine without face-to-face human interaction and the usual structure of a typical workday. Now add the challenge of leading from behind a computer screen, hundreds or thousands of miles away from the office.

So what has Xait done to lead, motivate and set a clear direction for our employees in these challenging times?

 

Employees are our greatest asset 

In Xait, as in most companies, it’s the people that make the product and services.  Xait is made by its employees, and the Xait employees are our greatest asset. As a team we all make sure that we take the responsibility for our clients seriously and are committed to continue delivering our highest quality.

So how does Xait make sure our employees stay healthy both mentally and physically so we can continue to develop and maintain XaitPorter, our co-authoring and automation software solution for teams? We take care of them! That sounds easy, you may think. The truth is that the way the HR and Management team perform their work during this pandemic can change the future way of working in our company. We will have to rethink how we work and collaborate, and we must do so immediately.

 

OneXait – our culture as foundation

At Xait, we focus on culture being our primary foundation. This is embedded in everything we do from recruitment, training, marketing, sales, customer follow-up and right down to the daily chat around the coffee machine. We cheer for each other and lift each other up! Also internally we focus on being one team; OneXait. Even though we have offices in both Norway and the US we are working together as OneXait with one main goal: To make the world more Xaiting! 

How do we accomplish this? As the corona pandemic spread throughout the world we made sure that every employee had the equipment they needed to deliver their work with the highest quality from home. Every department has a virtual stand-up meeting every morning. We are all committed to turning on the camera when we have a video meeting, because we enjoy seeing each other! Also, conducting all our meetings virtually have made us more aware of structure and focus in meetings. And this way we stay close to our employees. 

 

Garden shed office

 

The importance of virtual socializing

Most organizations are socialized and accustomed to synchronous work and standardization. They work together, located in the same office, under the same working conditions, with the same work schedule. In a quarantined environment, managers must help their teams shift immediately to asynchronous work and personalization.

In Xait, we are using our internal communication platform Workplace to socialize online. We arrange photo competitions where employees get a ticket to a lottery, we celebrate sales and ring the bell virtually, we even share the experience of being in home office together with small children crawling around their parents, who are trying to focus on today's video meeting.

Happy socks1Happy socks is a friday ritual.

While we are waiting for things to get “back to normal”, we have a virtual Friday coffee and waffle meeting with the whole company via video conference. And the latest addition to our virtual socializing is that we arrange online exercising sessions for our employees and their families. 

We are actually seeing each other a lot more as a whole, not face to face but virtually. There is also more communication in the company than ever before! This is all fun, but of course we all miss the office, and our colleagues can’t wait to get back!

Weekly employee satisfaction pulse check

Every week we send out an anonymous survey to measure the satisfaction among our employees. The results from our latest survey confirm that Xait is doing great caring for our employees and that we are on track. Still, there is no reason to rest. The Covid-19 home-office situation looks like it will last for a while more...

 

CEO updates – even if there’s no update

Uncertainty fuels anxiety. We found that the more we communicate and share, the less likely we are to develop an information vacuum within our OneXait team. Our CEO, Eirik Gudmundsen, is sending out daily updates to all employees regarding Covid-19 and other useful internal information.

This is actually the most appreciated measure we have taken. Maintaining transparency through a crisis with frequent updates is the ultimate expression of good faith, empathy, and genuine concern for our team. 

 

Working from home and working by our core values

Due to the Covid-19 situation we will have to work remotely to keep business running and help employees follow social distancing guidelines. However, working remotely has been on the rise for a while. As companies adapt to their remote work structures, the coronavirus pandemic might have a lasting impact on how work is conducted. 

But in the meantime, our OneXait team will continue working from home and working by our core values; being Trustworthy, Efficient, Xaiting and a Thought Leader both for our employees and for you as our client.

 

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Best Regards 
Reidun Risøy Heyerdahl
HR & Office Manager of Xait

 

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Reidun Risøy Heyerdahl

Reidun Risøy Heyerdahl

Reidun Risøy Heyerdahl is HR & Office Manager of Xait. She brings 20+ years of experience in organizational development, team collaboration and change management in both public and private sector companies. Reidun has a heartfelt passion for humans, both professionally and privately. As a board member in the Association for Parents with Disabled Kids, she advocates for strengthening the rights of children with disabilities. In her spare time, Reidun loves reading books, mountain hiking and spending time with her family.

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