Being remote doesn’t mean you can’t be close
I never considered myself as having an accent, but many of my US colleagues ask me where I’m from, and about my accent. Well yes, I guess that to them, I have one. It’s a matter of perspective. The part of the world we live in is our norm, so I don’t hear my accent – because in my perspective, the way I speak is normal. To validate this, simply ask a fish what water is.
This can be the case for a particular culture, a group perspective, or a traditional way of working. It can be easy to perceive the norm as the best way, or as they say, “how things are done around here.” It is human nature to judge anything outside our normal paradigm and consider it different, be unsure about it, or even be defensive if outside influences start to challenge what we consider as normal.
I am classed as a ‘remote worker,’ but I don’t consider myself remote – despite being eight time zones and over five thousand miles from headquarters. I use Webex to connect with my colleagues over video as if we were in the same room. I have to ask myself, what does ‘remote’ really mean?
Many customers I speak to say that they feel as if they are the remote ones. They want to get closer to their employees, customers, and partners. They want to remove the space between them. I always encourage them to step back and consider a wider perspective on what their challenge is. What is it that they really want to achieve? What’s in the way – for them and also for their audience?
Yes, we end up providing a solution that helps, but it is always surrounded by something more. What makes me feel connected is helping customers change what they believe about being remote, how they look at business problems, and how we can help them create new ways of working. This comes from looking outside ourselves and not from within. Thinking about others, from their perspective. We all need to see things as others do and so shine a light on the challenges they face – in other words, get beyond hearing someone’s accent and really listening to their words.
A good example of how one of our customers rethought how to provide services to remote communities is Triton Hearing in New Zealand. The team wanted to help people where they are located, rather than having to travel. They wanted to solve the problem of distance. We helped the team designed a brand new model of care using telehealth. They are the first in the world to develop an end-to-end solution for their clients. They have redefined healthcare and thrown out the concept of being remote.
This interactive case study will help you see how they did this.
One of the most important objectives was to ensure clients felt like the audiologist was in the room the whole time. There were initial concerns that clients would not like the concept, but in fact they really liked it. Clients felt that it was like having the audiologist in the room right there with them.
“The biggest benefit has been the time and money saved by not sending audiologist out on the road,” said Craig Lett, Clinical Development Manager at Triton Hearing, “allowing the business to improve workflow and make the most of the audiologist’s time; generating an additional 20 appointments per week and reducing waiting times in the clinics by up to three weeks.”
Basically, by removing the distance challenge they have been able transformed the way they work and allowed them to be the bridge between their clients feeling isolated or remote to hearing and being part of the conversation.
When you see how Triton Hearing got closer to their customers, perhaps it will help you think about what being remote is for you – and how you may be able to take a fresh look at working from a distance. I encourage you to think broadly about how you may think a little differently about technology, and how it might be able to help you build a new paradigm around distance and being remote. What helps me is looking at the other persons perspective, rather than simply my own. Try walking in your customer’s shoes for a few days, even if only in your imagination. You may discover something quite groundbreaking when you take a look from a new perspective.