Category Management:  How will It Get Done Remotely?  The Future is Now!

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This will come as no surprise to many of you even though you’ll have to admit that it came far, far sooner than anyone would have anticipated.  WFH or Working From Home for those of you with no street cred😊 is not a future trend but a current reality.  And if you have not started doing some serious planning and immediately moved into Adoption mode, we suggest you do so NOW.  While it looks like we may be turning the corner on the pandemic and perhaps offices will start opening up soon, it will not be the same.

Here are some projections from our favorite prognosticator (Gartner)

  • By 2022, 25% of you will have your home as your primary workplace
  • 45% of YOU will maybe go to work 2 to 3 days a week
  • Less than 20% of you will work from a company location
  • By 2024, 30% of you will work PERMANENTLY from home

The implications of that are many, they are structural, they are permanent, and they are strategic!  If I’m sounding alarmist, then mission accomplished.  Remote work is not the future but the present.  It’s not the exception but the norm.  Which means that organizations that adapt to this will gain a significant competitive advantage and one that will last a long time.  Of course, the converse is also true ☹.

There is not enough space to cover it all but let me start with a few changes to start thinking about.

Flexibility in terms of letting people design their own work has to be a standard practice.  I can just imagine how executives and HR will have to move rapidly to change their attitudes and respond to that.

Agnostic Performance Management will similarly need to be a standard practice and this one will be much harder to monitor.  It’s hard to measure bias.

Collaboration will need to be rethought totally.  Getting collaboration accomplished is of course totally doable but it requires a set of competencies, tools, integration of collaborative technology etc. – it doesn’t just happen. 

Social Experiences will need to be enabled both virtually AND in person.  Again, there are applications that enable this available today.

Redesign Offices completely as a party place because one thing the office would definitely be good for is to bring people in for social interactions 😊.  Individual offices and cubicles may not be the design of the future.

So here will be some of the challenges you need to start thinking about right away and for the sake of brevity and not to upset our blog master I will only comment on a few:

Acknowledge new reality:  While this sounds like motherhood and apple pie, this may be the biggest challenge for your organization. These are not insignificant issues to deal with because changing the attitude of the various executive decision makers will be your absolute biggest challenge-just trust us on this 😊.

Get training: This will require a new set of competencies for your employees and your leaders and unless you equip them properly, you are setting them up for failure.

Better Information sharing/KM:  You should seriously consider bringing some KM expert in to help you reimagine how information is created and shared.  We would identify this as a major risk area that we predict will not get the immediate attention needed.

Focus on Relationships

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate

Embrace and use technology

Force daily interactions – amongst team AND individuals

Shared Memories

Shared Words

Similar Vision for Team

Stay tuned for more discussion on the above points and much more detail on tis topic.  If you want to ensure access to the best talent and the least turnover, this is a topic you should pay attention to.  Otherwise, you will be giving up a competitive advantage.

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Dalip Raheja is President and CEO of The Mpower Group (TMG). Dalip has over 30 years of experience managing large organizations and change initiatives. He has worked across the spectrums of supply chain management, strategic sourcing, and management consulting.
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