Working from home was once often a rare occurrence birth out of circumstance or necessity. Now, working from a remote location is negotiated into employment contracts and is an accepted industry standard. While this method is proven to boost productivity and an employee’s well-being, it can complicate a manager’s execution of its vision.
The work-week normative of five in-office days is shifting to a more fluid program of work stretches with remote technological communications interspersed.
As this non-office-confined practice frequently becomes commonplace, research shows that those with the flexibility of working remotely, live healthier, happier lives are often more effective in their output than their facility-stationed equivalents. It is easier to achieve a sustainable work-life balance when commuting, and the costly headaches attached to them, don’t occupy a large portion of your daily routine.
However, there is still skepticism whether this free-range approach employee autonomy is a trend or a new era in the business milieu. There are some definite challenges in leading a team you aren’t working side-by-side to daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
Shared experiences and a connection with staff are hard to replicate with digital proxies and communication apps. Creating an organizational culture won’t come effortlessly. Managing from a distance leaves little space for light-bulb moments and organic, on the spot troubleshooting conferences throughout a monotonous day.
Coordinating with workers who are on the clock at workplace stations outside the office or synchronizing with other branches across the country can appear cumbersome; however, it isn’t something a great leader can’t overcome or, in fact, use to their team’s benefit.
Business is perpetually evolving. Because the accessibility of work is often brought home with you at your fingertips, “office hours” have been extended over the last few decades. The completion of projects, the meeting of deadlines, can all be done remotely, so isn’t the same true for the leadups to these deliverables?
Attendance, of the in-person sense, is being fazed out as an environmental mandate of a growing number of employers. Employees are seeking presence elasticity from workplace standers now while exploring new career possibilities. Albeit from a few professions in the corporate world, the tide of one’s occupancy in the building has turned.
Studies explain that almost more than half of corporate and tech settings are adopting remote, work-from-home-days, and integrating them into their scheduling. More participants in an enterprise are opting for isolated shifts or setting up shop elsewhere for an extended period for various reasons. Personal obligations, mindfulness, or perhaps the decision is a cost-saving measure dictated from above.
Conversely, an executive or supervisor, may find themselves in a set of circumstances where they cannot command alongside their contingent. A leader must be able to adapt to this atmosphere.
Below are tips and time-tested approaches to help you lead from afar.
Communication is paramount to success. Establish precise expectations of your staff. Whether it’s on an email chain, a group work chat, or a shared calendar, don’t leave anything up to interpretation. Avoid losing anything in translations of context-less and tone-deficient messaging systems and put an emphasis on exactness. Engage continually in a manner that is supportive and efficient. The actions of the remote worker will reciprocate the trust built by allowing your deputies comforts and conveniences by forgoing the laborious daily commute.
Leadership must completely buy into employees working remotely. There can be no instances of wavering, as working from home is on equal footing as working on-site to a resolved leader. Employees have to feel confident that their requests to work in an alternate setting, is granted to maximize their productivity facilitate the employee’s well being. Displays of empathy and commitment to doing what’s best for your team members will pay dividends.
Consistency is vital; schedule meetings, chats, and coaching sessions with regularity. All parties are navigating a different dynamic than the status quo. A leader should adhere to a schedule of daily, weekly, and even monthly check-ins with their secluded team. Being respectful of other’s time is non-negotiable. Remote employees can quickly feel isolated and as if their not a part of the group if meetings get bumped, and the lead isn’t focused directly on the call.
Technology is your ally; collaboration software and video conferencing programs are a must. A multi-channel, multiplatform communication approach creates avenues to operate on the same page continually. This multi-prong approach to linking the team together will build flexibility and a feeling of inclusion.
Foster a community via digital interfacing. Celebrate your team’s birthdays, offer all-channel recognition of employees’ accomplishments, share a light gif or emoji when it’s appropriate on your computerized workspace.
While there are many positives to remote work, there are intangibles missed when not in the office: on-site collaboration sessions, team-building exercises, and the shared experience of ordering lunch from a new restaurant can all be a morale booster. Remote work isn’t replacing the proven grounds of communal spaces with a collective goal; it is, however, forcing the hand of leaders to become more adaptive and involved in navigating day to day operations: which will make for an in-tune and stronger boss.
If you lead with transparency, clarity, and resolve, your team will rise to the professional challenges they face, no matter where they are.