More organizations than ever are providing opportunities for people to work remotely. While it is a big incentive for the employees, there are challenges leaders face communicating and leading people who aren’t near them physically. Here are my takeaways from this recent Forbes article:
1. Make Expectations Clear - Ever heard of “out of sight, out of mind”? This can go both ways. Get together in person early on and lay out expectations with your remote teammates in terms of hours, results, goals, communication, response time, etc. Be sure to set up guidelines to ensure that your employees are not working around the clock.
2. Engage Intentionally and Regularly - Decide the best channels for communication. We recommend connecting daily in some way, then at least weekly in-person/over the phone. Schedule and keep coaching sessions and do them in-person, or via video conferencing if your remote employee is out-of-state.
3. Build Trust - This goes for employees who are sitting right next to you and those who are on the other side of the globe. After you’ve set up the expectations, follow-through. Provide on-going feedback on how you feel things are progressing. If you are uneasy about anything, address it immediately.
4. Support Core Values - The actions and behaviors that support your core values become your culture that we define as “the way we do things around here in order to fulfill our mission.” Praise those behaviors when you notice them in remote workers. Easier said than done, so you will have to intentionally search for them over email and phone.
5. Have the Right Tools in Place - Make sure your remote teammates have access to files, in-house email, etc. Invest in stand desks or good chairs so they’re not always working from the couch. Ask lots of questions about their environment and don’t ever assume they’re set up the right way.
The article states that 50% of the workforce is doing some sort of telecommuting and that 80-90% of all employees would like to work remotely at least part of the time, so it’s important that your company make this a priority. Get together with other leaders both inside and outside your organization to share ideas on what is working and what needs to be tweaked.
Walking the dog (or cat) today? Listen to this podcast from Awesome at Your Job - Solving the Five Problems of Virtual Communication with Dr. Nick Morgan.
Speaking of cats, I want to give a shout out to Monica Silvestre for the great photo!