Last Word: Leading A Remote Workforce

With all that’s happened with the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work is becoming more the norm and the workplace is likely never to return completely back to being in a full office for many organizations.

Leading remote workers is very different from managing staff and leading staff within a work environment. I’ve come up with five tips to help you lead your remote team.

  1.  Unlock the potential of your remote workers through employee engagement. Employees are truly engaged when they go above and beyond to get the job done and to help the organization and to ensure that you have fully engaged remote workers. That means you need to reach out and touch base with them. Thank them for the work that they’ve done, recognize them for the work that they do. Check in with them frequently and not just about work but check in with them about how they are; are they having any challenges at home, particularly since the lines between home life and work are far more blurred for remote workers. 

Show them that you care; be empathetic, be flexible around their situation, whatever that might be. Make sure that they have the tools and resources they need to be able to do the work and look for reasons to celebrate like birthdays, a successful project, anything at all.

In addition, it’s very important to make sure that you provide opportunities to learn new skills, known as upskilling, as well as opportunities for career development and growth. 

Providing these programs and supporting remote workers in that way has proven to be very very successful, it can really make a difference on the bottom line.

  1. When you bring on remote workers, make sure you have a very good onboarding program that includes how to navigate technology that’s going to be used for working purposes. 

In addition, make sure that your mission, your values as an organization and your business goals are clearly part of your culture.

  1. Establish work expectations. This means setting clear goals, deadlines and holding people accountable for achieving them, just like you would within an office. But it also means that you need to regularly check in on progress and whether there are any obstacles that you need to help the remote worker overcome. It’s also important to provide consistent and regular feedback to support that worker in achieving goals and deadlines.
  2.  Address technology and home office challenges to the best extent possible. Think about the security of your confidential information, ergonomic issues, office equipment. 

Technology that supports collaboration and communication is really key, such as Zoom and other ways of communicating. Look at your progress on your project, such as hours worked, time off and how you are going to manage all that and the expectations around that.

  1. Upskill your management skills. Managing people who are working remotely is different than managing and leading people working in an office setting, so you want to educate yourself on the potential benefits of remote working. 

You also want to devolve job optometry by checking-in rather than checking up. Lead and manage by results.

I hope you find these five tips helpful.

Pam Sande is CEO of HR At Work in Hyannis.


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