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.
1. Develop a morning routine
Early morning risers tend to have a more proactive mindset. That’s because they have more space and time to observe the day before them and make adjustments as necessary. And for early birds, the morning routine is everything.
Instead of searching for a single morning routine that everyone should follow, strive to develop your own. Take inspiration from great entrepreneurs and their own morning routines. Mark Cuban and Warren Buffet read for hours a day. Author and Navy SEAL Jocko Willink lifts weights before running in the morning. Arianna Huffington and Oprah both meditate and practice mindfulness. Even if you don’t do these exact routines, it’s never too late to improve on your own morning routine.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Stay active and exercise
If you want to workout, the best time to do so is in the morning. Not only will you have fewer distractions, but getting your heart pumping and your blood flowing can increase your overall energy and alertness before you get to the meat of your day.
We understand that working out in the morning can also seem like a daunting transition, particularly if you have other obligations like dropping off children to school or having a long commute ahead. But you can still find time for a few minutes each day to focus on your fitness health. Check out Pamela Reif’s 10 minute morning work out, which doesn’t need any equipment. Alternatively, the TappBrothers has a 5 Minute Mobility & Stretch Routine with just 5 exercises. Over time, you’ll notice a difference in your focus and energy levels.
8. Set a dedicated time to work on certain projects
Do you ever feel as if there’s never time to tackle the important tasks? Does work continually pile up, before you can even finish the last thing you were working on? Then it may be time for a more effective approach to prioritization: calendar blocking.
The way it works is simple: take your calendar app or just a regular planner, and carve out time in your schedule for each task. Usually, this works best in 30-minute to hour-long intervals. Since your calendar is “blocked” out, that means you’re less likely to take on other tasks or calls during that time, leaving you more space to focus on the task at hand.
Planning your schedule is no easy feat, particularly if you’re a freelancer. Read Blueprint’s article on schedule organization here.
9. Find the right physical space for total concentration
Working from home means being surrounded by distractions of comfort. While working in your pajamas or being close to the bed sounds like heaven at first, you quickly find that these luxuries only make working from home that much harder.
Find an isolated room, nook, or space where you can do your best, undistracted work. Over time, you will begin to associate that space with productivity, and merely stepping in that area will prime you into a mindset of work.
10. Manage expectations with clients and team members
Inevitably, there will be obligations from home that keep you from work, like making lunch for the children asking for a snack, or walking your dog. In a physical workplace, there’s more pressure to submit deliverables by a certain time, but at home, it becomes more important to manage expectations carefully.
Give yourself a few extra hours, maybe even an additional day, when promising a deadline to a client or a team member. It always looks better when you can deliver a little early.
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.