+44 7531 228 089 sarah@sarah-j.com

Are you feeling the pressures of leading a remote team? If so, you’re not alone. Whether your team is fully remote or only partially can come with added struggles from communication issues to technology nightmares. 

According to Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote work survey, 98% of remote workers shared that they prefer working remotely. However, unclear communication, technology issues, and lack of connection were cited as some of the top reasons that remote work can be difficult. 

These issues can be even more nuanced for leaders since you have to manage a team and lead effectively. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 7 remote work tips that will help you and your team run more effectively.

Communication Trumps all other Remote Work Tips

As a leader, it’s your job to over-communicate with your team. Over-communicating will help everyone feel more included, clear on their objectives, and can lessen any sense of anxiety or loss with their new normal.

It’s also essential that you encourage communication amongst the team. They should have the opportunity to communicate with supervisors and team leads. 

Consider having shorter meetings when possible, but with more frequent cheque-ins to keep communication lines open. Feedback should be encouraged and allowed from all sides.

Tools like Slack and Microsoft Team can come in handy and lessen email overwhelm while keeping communication flowing between phone and video meetings.

Connectivity, Collaboration, and Fun Matters

Just because you’re not in the same space doesn’t mean that connectivity has to fall by the wayside. Although there’s no replacement for face to face interaction, video can be so helpful in boosting morale while making collaboration easier. 

Even workers that are happy working remotely state that the lack of connectivity can be troublesome. Companies like Focusmate provide virtual co-working sessions for people working from home. This can be helpful for anyone that is working from home, who is feeling isolated or unproductive. 

Collaboration can also be easier with sites like Twist, which is a distraction-free hub for remote workers.

According to research published by CIPHR, employees that have some amount of fun at work are more productive and overall happier. Therefore, even the most conservative, or dull, workplaces can benefit from employees who feel more connected with one another can let loose a bit.

Fun is relative, but something as simple as adding in a pizza day can be a start. And when in doubt, ask your team. They’re sure to be full of ideas.

Flexibility is Key for Remote Work Success

No matter how organised your company is or what standard procedures are in place, remote work can bring unforeseen variables. So being a flexible leader and encouraging that attitude amongst your team will keep everyone from losing their cool when things don’t go as planned. 

This can be particularly useful when you have some team members in the office while others are not. One way to be flexible is focusing on outcomes without getting bogged down in the day to day activities. 

Use your best judgment to keep your team on task without being rigid on areas that don’t affect outcomes.

Offer Work from Home Training 

As you move forward and notice what is and isn’t working, you can decide to offer work from home training. This can help new and current team members with best practises while working remotely. 

Some topics that can be useful in your company’s training are:

  • How to prioritise while working off-site
  • Improving team communication and performance
  • Dealing with distractions
  • Remote operating procedures 
  • Remote tools and technology 

The Right Tech Tools Make All the Difference

One of the most irritating parts of remote work can be dealing with tech problems. Although there’s no way to avoid tech issues altogether, having specific resources and simple tools in place for your team can help.

The tools you need will depend on your company’s needs, size, and budget. But some of the most important, regardless of industry, will help with communication and project management. 

Remote workers can do a speed test to measure their broadband internet speed quickly.

Video chat tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts are indispensable. 

For cybersecurity, you may consider a company like Cytrust that specialises in cyber risk management.  

Make Sure to Manage Expectations

It should be clear to your team how often you will be available, when, and to what capacity. Spreading yourself thin isn’t the answer. While communication is even more critical than ever, it is also unrealistic to always be available. 

Managing expectations can also be helpful when deciding on “rules of engagement.” Maybe you prefer Slack for general announcements and email or teleconference for more urgent matters. 

Emotional Discipline and Self-Care are Crucial 

Being a leader can be stressful. You’re required to juggle many things at once, and when things go right, the team celebrates. When things go wrong, often, the onus often falls on you. 

Just as it’s essential to have compassion and empathy for your team, it’s also necessary to have those things towards yourself. 

Sarah knows from experience what it’s like to be successful in business, but yet feel burnt out and unfulfilled. Emotional stress and overwhelm can be contagious. Employees will look to you to lead in many ways and will often mirror your anxieties and stress. 

Remote leadership doesn’t have to be stressful. But it does require you to have emotional discipline and strong leadership skills.

Conclusion

Overall, most of what you need to know about leading a remote team centres around communication and clear expectations. Working remotely can be just as productive, if not more, than working on-site and also more cost-effective. 

Just remember to keep the lines of communication open, listen to your team, and, most importantly, take care of yourself. Because most of these remote work tips rely on your being the best leader possible.  

Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed about leading your team remotely? Book a free consultation with me to determine how I can help you de-stress and manage your team most effectively.

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