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Leading a Team of Remote Workers (Without Leading Them Into Burnout)

Randall Blum writes about remote work during a time of global crisis, and how you can help yourself (and your employees) avoid burnout during these interesting times.

Throughout the US, businesses have been forced to move to remote work, leaving many employees feeling unsupported and lost. And while some states are beginning to reopen, many organizations will be forced to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future. How can leaders support newly remote teams through this uncertain time?

  1. Check in frequently

One of the most important things you can do as a remote team leader is to check in regularly. Create a routine where you check in with team members daily or weekly. You can utilize a variety of communication tools, including video conferencing, online chats, emails, and phone calls. Regular communication allows you to stay up-to-date on any issues your employees are experiencing while helping them to feel supported and valued.

  1. Avoid micromanaging

While it’s critical to communicate often, avoid micromanaging your employees. As long as their expectations are clear, there is no need to monitor every move your employees make. Micromanaging implies a lack of trust and will likely damage your relationship with your team members. 

  1. Foster connection

If your team is accustomed to working in an office environment, working from home might leave them feeling disconnected and disengaged. As a leader, do your best to foster a sense of connection between your employees through communication. This communication could be in the form of a virtual team meeting where you allow everyone to catch up with one another (non-work topics permitted) or an ongoing conversation via an online chat. If you aren’t sure how to best foster your employees’ connection, ask them what would be most beneficial. 

  1. Offer emotional support

Lastly, leaders need to be providing emotional support to their employees during this unique time. Your employees will be facing a variety of new stressors. Some may be feeling lonely while others are attempting to balance parenthood and online schooling with their work schedules. Regardless of their individual situations, be compassionate and empathize. Begin your one-on-one discussions by asking questions related to the employees’ wellbeing. If they are experiencing hardships, ask how you can best support them (and follow through with your promises). Knowing that you genuinely care will go a long way toward helping your employees through this time. 

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