The prevalence of agile working, a digital nomadic lifestyle, and flexible working environments, have increased over recent years. And that trend is set to continue.
While this growth may be primarily spurred by technological improvements that allow the changes in the first place, companies and individuals alike are realizing the inherent benefits of such working practices.
Companies need to provide less expensive physical space and facilities so they are able to reduce electricity bills and lower their carbon footprint.
Hiring remote workers also means companies are not restricted to hiring from a commutable workforce. Employees working remotely are shown to be more productive, less stressed, and have a better work-life balance.
One of the major things holding some companies back from adopting these newer ways of working is often due to their limiting beliefs, rather than any physical limitations.
Thoughts about how to keep staff motivated, on track, and disciplined often stop leaders from allowing remote working.
But it is often not the remote working that should be questioned, it is in fact the remote leadership that can successfully enable these changes.
1. Set Clear Expectations from Day One
Constantly moving goalposts can be a source of major frustration for employees.
Regular changes to workload expectations, working hours and days, or location can all quickly lead to unhappy employees.
Setting out exactly what you expect from day one and setting regular times for when this can be re-negotiated (every six months to one year) is the best way of avoiding these problems.
If remote working is new for your organization, then trialing for different teams before diving straight into it gives a great opportunity to learn how to work around this.
2. Invest in the Technology
One of the biggest frustrations for employees who have been sold the dream of remote working is not giving them the technology to enable them to succeed.
This doesn’t necessarily come at a huge financial cost. It just means taking a logical approach to ensure that technology needs are met.
Do employees have the software to make conference calls if that is something that they regularly need to do? If not, these small problems can quickly lead to a loss in productivity and motivation.
3. Early Face to Face Time
New employees should be introduced to your company will want a good amount of face-to-face time to begin. This may be between 2-4 weeks or longer for more complex, senior roles.
This face-to-face time will help new employees to understand the organizational culture and set levels of expectations that cannot be easily expressed in a contract or elsewhere.
4. Disciplined Communication
Many companies that have successfully moved to remote working have adopted more simplified communication techniques that allow constant ways of communication with the people you need to speak to.
Applications like Slack are simple solutions, and can neatly split up chats between different teams and projects, as well as allowing for a more informal channel to speak about non-work related topics if you wish.
5. Set Feedback Loops
Even with the best communication, it’s easy to let things slide that you don’t think are significant when working remotely. So having a set time with speak to your employees every week is still advised.
There doesn’t necessarily need to be a set agenda for this catch up, just a more general ‘any other business’ type of talk or anything that wasn’t advisable to raise more publicly can be saved for these feedback sessions.
Hopefully, incorporating as much of this advice as possible will help to keep remote employees motivated and engaged, while reminding them they are still accountable and valued.
How Can You Excel at Remote Leadership?
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