Remote working presents a new challenge for leaders. Many have never overseen a remote team before, and it can be difficult for some to adjust to the new dynamic.
Although it is now safe for many teams to return to the office, it doesn’t seem like remote work will be going away anytime soon. Thus, leaders must learn to motivate their teams and keep them productive. But doing so is easier said than done.
This article will provide leaders with six tips to handle a remote workforce.
1. Explore tech options
Technology is advancing to meet the demands of the remote workforce. There is now advanced business software that allows an entire organization to exist within a single ecosystem. Everything from communication and file sharing to asking for time off can be done from one system. Opting for the right system or set of tools can make all the difference in productivity and employee satisfaction.
Additionally, leadership has to inquire about difficulties and pain points their workforce faces. Fully remote work is still a new thing, and improvements are becoming available quickly. As a leader, you need to take a proactive approach in identifying pain points and finding solutions to address them.
2. Understand the risks
Working remotely opens up a whole world of risk, particularly relating to security. Cybercrime has risen dramatically in the last few years. Leaders must put in place measures to protect their organizations.
Things can get particularly risky if employees are working from their personal devices. A single weak point can cause your entire organization to suffer. If possible, provide employees with laptops they can use only for work.
Other measures you can take include:
- Encrypting all business-related activity with a VPN.
- Using a business password manager to handle all employee login credentials.
- Setting up antivirus software for all company devices.
- Educating employees on threats like phishing to reduce their chances of falling victim to them.
Everyone in the organization must follow these measures; otherwise, they become ineffective.
3. Show that you care
Good leaders show how much they care for others in their team. Perhaps from your own experience, you understand that employees can experience stress, burnout, or other mental issues as they work remotely.
As a leader, you have to promote honest communication across the organization. Employees should be able to speak about the challenges they face in this new environment. To tackle these challenges, partner up with an organization that provides online consultations. Sometimes, the solution can be even more accessible, such as a mental-health app like YoursApp.
4. Motivate employees
With the lack of face-to-face interaction and increased isolation, employees can quickly become unmotivated and feel distant from the organization. With that, their performance will also suffer.
As a leader, your job is to get the best out of your employees. Recognize the ones that are struggling, and stay in touch by providing feedback or recognizing the work they’ve done. Diversify the tasks you give employees to keep them engaged, and clearly state the goal with each decision to fill them with a sense of purpose.
5. Promote learning
Employee learning and development is very valuable for an organization. If employees can learn to handle the changing business environment and adapt to new roles, it can lead to lower employee turnover, more career-advancement opportunities, and a host of other benefits.
To promote learning across the organization, set a learning budget, and allow employees to spend time learning. You can partner with a third-party resource provider like Coursera for training material.
A great way to encourage employees to invest in their development is to lead by example. If people in leadership positions are taking the time to improve their knowledge and skills, others will likely follow.
6. Trust your team
One concern that leaders have with remote work is that they can’t measure their employees’ work. A lack of trust can create resentment through constant, unnecessary check-ups and updates.
Instead of worrying about whether someone is doing their job, focus on hiring well and providing support. Trust that the employee will return the favor. Set clear, manageable goals and check up on employees only if they keep failing to meet them.
Whether you’re planning to return to the office or not, being able to lead a remote team is critical for your development as a leader. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be on your way to leading a remote workforce through many difficulties.
With that said, never stop learning and keep looking out for new developments that can make you a better leader in the fast-changing remote environment.