The way we think about work has dramatically transformed. With tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Twitter already announcing permanent or long-term work-from-home arrangements, remote work is not just a passing fad. We’ve learned that remote work leads to more productivity and happier employees, as well as allowing businesses to save on overhead costs.
Whether you have a fully remote or a hybrid team, it’s important to implement strategies conducive to successful remote work.
Here are our tips for leading a remote team:
Be strategic about video calls
Let’s face it: Zoom fatigue is real, and we’ve all experienced it. No one wants to go through a sequence of back-to-back video calls. It’s important to call strategically—which often means planning your video conferences in advance so everyone on your team comes in prepared. Find the cadence that’s right for you and your team, whether that means having daily or weekly meetings. Know that not everything needs to be said over a video call; sometimes, intentionally documenting instructions or feedback via an email or Slack message can lead to clearer communication with less need for back-and-forth.
Work is still work, even if it’s done from home. Just because your employee is never in the office doesn’t mean you should contact them in the off-hours. Respect your team’s work hours and know that not everyone works in the same way—or at the same time, for that matter. A huge part of employee satisfaction from remote work comes from the flexibility it allows. Without that flexibility, productivity might suffer.
Know your team
It’s harder to get to know your team when you can’t see them face-to-face. You may not know the person behind the work they do, and it’s all too easy for your team members to forget they’re part of an actual team. It’s still important to build your team, even (or especially) when you’re working remotely. During meetings, break up the monotony by coming up with creative ways to get to know each other. From virtual happy hours to trivia games to About Me presentations, there are a ton of options to helping your team feel more connected.
It’s important to build trust among your team members. To achieve this, transparency is imperative. Allow your team to keep you (and each other) updated on their weekly tasks. Using project management tools like Trello and Asana also makes it easier for everyone to track each other’s progress on various projects. Let your team in on the bigger picture and share company-wide goals—this helps your team feel more engaged and connected to the work that they’re doing.
Empathy goes a long way in a remote team. Working during a global pandemic is challenging, to say the least, and we’re all dealing with it in different ways. Always remember the human behind the screen. On top of work, many are facing anxiety and fear due to the virus. Some have been isolated from their family, friends, and communities. Others have had to take on extra childcare responsibilities. Reach out to your team, find out how they’ve been coping, and offer support where it’s needed. After all, we’re all trying to navigate this new world.