Managing remotely requires more nuanced leadership. Communication skills are put to the test, and digital preparedness is brought to the forefront. Be sure to provide your employees with the resources and pertinent information they need to ensure they are set up for success while working from home.
Now is the time to harness cloud collaboration platforms which are better suited to remote workforces. Comb through your current stack and identify redundant and lesser used technologies. Free up some precious IT budget to invest in solutions that are optimized for ‘work from anywhere’ teams. Focus on the new employee experience, ‘the digital workplace.’
It’s imperative to check in on employee mental health regularly. How is your team doing as individuals? How are they adjusting to remote work? Are they facing personal challenges that they can’t express on team calls, or on Slack? Are they finding it hard to manage a work/life balance? Communicating in an office setting is wildly different from how we communicate remotely. Ensure that you’re purposefully setting-up regular touch bases.
Don’t avoid discussing productivity. There are going to be ups and downs, and some people will adjust to this ‘new normal’ more swiftly than others. Don’t shy away from setting normal KPI’s just because the workplace setting has changed. On the flip side, employees becoming overworked and burnt out from not setting clear work hours can be a problem as well. Encourage your team to work within set hours, and take breaks throughout the day. Hold yourself accountable to these rules as well. A burnt out leader isn’t what your employees need right now…
Focus on building a new remote work culture from the ground up. Encourage your employees to show off their pets, say hi to their kids when they appear on video calls, and set up virtual coffee breaks and happy hours to keep things fun. Working from home can make your team feel disconnected from each other quickly. Bringing personality into video calls and Slack channels will greatly improve morale. If employee communication is ‘all business all the time,’ it’s on you as a leader to fix it.
While this pandemic will end one day, dispersed workforces are here to stay. It’s important to learn from this experience as much as we can, to move forward in a position of strength.