There are many benefits to instigating remote working within your organization, however, remote working requires certain other considerations. A great leader can adapt and change their style in order to maximize the benefits of remote working for the company. In this article, we will examine some of the different strategies and methods you can use to inspire, engage, and empower remote workers to make them feel like a valuable part of the team.
Provide remote employees with everything they need to improve communication
Remote working saves your company a lot of money, but in order for this not to be a false economy, it is essential that you don’t skimp on the tools and resources you supply to your staff. Your aim is to make communication as quick and easy as it would be if all parties were in the same office. Email is a poor form of communication, particularly internal email, so invest in tools such as Asana, Wrike, or Slack, so that communication becomes seamless and second nature to all employees. Excellent communication improves teamwork, sparks ideas, and motivates everyone to become more productive. As a leader, ensure you are actively using all of these tools and setting an example. The key is not only supplying the correct tools, but ensuring everyone is using them to their full potential.
Be more than a voice on the end of a conference call
If you actually want team leaders to feel valued and included, then it is essential that every remote worker gets to visit the head office at least once a year. This will allow everyone to put names to faces, to interact closely, and to feel properly included and ultimately more valued and committed to the company. Plan the visit carefully, and build in a social aspect to the visit in order to build that team spirit.
It is also just as important for leaders to make trips, the other way, to demonstrate that they are willing to travel to meet their employees and to experience remote working properly. When you engage in remote visits, consider adding fun and rewarding things to the visit, such as an employee of the month, or maybe even just birthday wishes. The key point here is not to make your remote workers feel that the only time they see you is for an inspection, or for other negative reasons.
Demonstrate an inclusive policy from the head of the company down
It is very easy for a remote worker to feel less important than an office-based employee. A good leader will establish an inclusive policy that values everyone equally. As a leader, this might mean regularly connecting with your remote workers on an individual basis or even just remembering and celebrating birthdays with them, in the same way you would in the office. Other staff members will be watching to see how you conduct yourself, so by setting a good example, others will follow.
One great idea, if your remote workers work exclusively from home, could be to send them a gift voucher for their local coffee shop. This demonstrates that not only do you value them as an employee but also that you have been thinking of them. Sometimes it is the little gestures that have the biggest impact.
Organize corporate retreats
Working away from the rest of the team can create a sense of isolation, which in turn can create apathy and inhibit collaboration. Remote workers may work most effectively on their own, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from a corporate retreat.
Something as simple as a company dinner, a birthday party, a summer picnic, or a similar outing not related to work can do wonders for the brand culture. For one, retreats help remind your employees that the company isn’t solely focused on work, but on the wellbeing and happiness of its team. Second, meeting in-person is the only way to humanize work that is mostly done digitally.
Be mindful of time zones and working hours
It’s easy to forget that remote workers may not just be a few miles, but whole continents away. Just as one developer in Chicago might be getting up for work, a designer the Philippines might be getting ready for bed.
Take advantage of a collaborative calendar to sync your team members’ schedules across the board. This will be helpful even for the domestic/local team, as not all team members work the standard 9-5 routine. Establishing time zones and work hours is crucial when moving as a single unit.
Leverage software and project management platforms
From Asana to Zoho Projects, there’s no shortage of project management platforms in the age of the Internet. Each one offers a unique take on organization and collaboration, so it’s important to take the time to research and find the best one for your business.
Looking for a Kanban-board style system suited for agile workflow? Trello is the right one for you. Want something clean and similar to a to-do list? Check out Asana. Or maybe you want something you can use on your smartphone. In that case, Basecamp 2 might be what you’re looking for. No matter which platform you end up choosing, just make sure it’s one that is suited to your workflow and empowers your team.
Although software and technology are essential for making remote working even a possibility, the underlying priority is your leadership skills. Not every leader has the techniques or capacity to lead effectively from a distance, but every good leader should always be looking to push the barriers, and transform any weaknesses into a strength. Managing a team remotely provides tremendous opportunities for development and once mastered, will greatly assist your future career development.
At Novel Coworking, we fully embrace the benefits of remote workers and are at the forefront of developing ideas and strategies to maximize the benefits. Visit our website regularly for concepts and ideas on how to benefit from working remotely.