In the early months of 2020, remote work swiftly transformed from a non-traditional option to a necessity due to Covid-19.
While many executives were hopeful their employees would return to the office as soon as they were fully vaccinated, reality took an unexpected turn.
According to a recent Forbes report, the professional landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation. Currently, 12.7% of full-time employees work from home while 28.2% work a hybrid schedule. Moreover, 16% of companies are operating fully remotely, and it’s estimated that, by 2025, 32.5 million Americans will work remotely. In other words, remote work isn’t going away anytime soon.
If you’re managing your team under the new normal, maximizing your effectiveness as a remote leader is fundamental to your organization’s success. Here are eight ways you can enhance your remote leadership skills for greater team satisfaction, productivity, and overall success.
1. Leverage Time-Tracking Apps
In an increasingly digital world, it’s critical leaders know what their remote teams are working on and how they’re managing their time. Time-tracking apps not only hold employees accountable, but also provide leaders with invaluable data to guide their decision-making.
While some employees feel time-tracking apps are intrusive, employers can make workers feel more comfortable with this software by building trust and clear communication with their team. Ultimately, leaders should communicate to their employees that they are focused on fostering a culture of productivity in which everyone spends their time on high-value tasks, rather than surveillance.
2. Encourage Clear, Consistent Communication
Communication is the backbone of any successful team, and it’s even more critical in a remote work environment. Clear and consistent communication helps leaders prevent misunderstandings with employees, aligns team members with organizational goals, and fosters a sense of community among remote workers.
Be sure to define work hours, communication channels, and expected deliverables, so that all employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
Leverage a range of remote team communication tools within your organization and establish guidelines for how members should use those tools. Continuously review and update policies to match the changing dynamics of the work environment.
Remember to choose communication tools based not only on how they enhance productivity and efficiency but how they improve employee engagement and collaboration.
3. Establish a Remote Work Eligibility Policy
Crafting a robust remote work eligibility policy stands as a cornerstone of successful remote leadership. In many industries, the job requirements of some team members will preclude them from some remote work. Hybrid schedules or in-office-only schedules may be essential for certain roles.
Your policy should lay out who is eligible for what level of remote work and why, with as much transparency and fairness as possible.
Get practical strategies you can apply for personal and professional growth. Sign up for The Weekly Return newsletter today.By providing your email address, you agree to receive email communication from Arootah
4. Combat Isolation
In the realm of remote work, combating isolation and loneliness is paramount to maintaining a healthy and engaged workforce.
Give your team opportunities to interact with one another and bond by scheduling regular team meetings. Additionally, instruct supervisors to conduct frequent check-ins with their direct reports, utilizing face-to-face virtual technologies such as Zoom to bridge the physical gap between them.
5. Focus on Team-Building Activities
Many managers overlook team building when leading remotely, as they underestimate the importance of the interpersonal interactions that emerge organically in the office setting. Virtual meetings tend to be task-oriented, often leaving little room for casual chitchat or team bonding.
By planning team-building exercises and activities, remote leaders can help their organizations build community.
6. Provide Opportunities for Growth
During Covid-19, many businesses based their operations on contingency plans and keeping their organizations afloat. Now that work from home is here to stay, many leaders have begun to think about employee development.
Just like traditional, in-office employees, remote workers want responsibilities that position them for career growth and long-term success. That’s why it’s important that you invest in your employees’ growth by offering them webinars, virtual training programs, or virtual mentorship opportunities.
7. Build a Culture of Innovation
Remote work environments often require innovative solutions to organizational problems. As a remote leader, it’s critical that you create and foster a culture of experimentation where your employees feel comfortable learning from failure.
Encourage your team to share ideas and brainstorm collectively. Diverse creativity is often the key to problem-solving.
8. Ensure Effective Technology Setups
When it comes to remote work, you and your employees should never have to worry about technology.
If you set up effective technology from the start of your remote work program, your teams will benefit from collaborative, secure, seamless virtual work environments that allow all employees to stay connected and informed, whether they’re working together in real time or asynchronously.
As you prioritize convenience and collaboration, though, remember to establish guidelines for security as well; implementing robust cybersecurity measures will protect your organization’s data and integrity.
The Bottom Line
Leading remotely can be challenging, but, with the right remote work policies, you can maximize productivity and foster collaboration within the virtual work environment.
Need more help or not sure where to start? Arootah’s Remote Work Advisory services can help you identify where your company can improve, take advantage of opportunities, and/or enhance employee engagement, for a more productive, efficient remote work environment.