Many people have found remote work to be a personal game-changer. Gone is the wasted time in the commute, additional expenses for lunch and go as far as less clothing and work expenses. 

Along with all the benefits of remote work comes new hurdles in leadership in order to lead everyone equally to a shared goal. Today we’ll look at three common hurdles that leaders need to overcome with people to keep them engaged and empowered to do great work at home. 

Be intentional in inclusion

When you think of the term “inclusion” in the workplace, you may think of cultural, gender, or age-based topics, and while those are right among many other things, Remote and hybrid work bringing introduces leaders to the proximity bias hurdle. 

While it’s incorrect to say that office workers are more productive than those that work remotely, there is truth that the people that work in the office have a relational advantage over their peers if their shared leader also works in the office. It’s simply easier to pop in on your leader and they are more inclined to share those small relationship-building moments with those they are physically around more. 

Support those that work remotely to make sure that they are visible to their peers and key players and that they are engaged and contributing to high-visibility projects. 

If you are a remote worker, push your leader (politely) to be included more in meetings and projects. 

Hold all of your meetings online
A lot of information and non-verbal communication can be picked up in a meeting that is in person. You can clearly see how someone reacts, or doesn’t, to the topic being discussed. Holding hybrid meetings creates inequities for the team. The team members that are physically present enjoy the full context of what is being communicated and the ones online miss the extra context as they look at your video feed on their computer screen. The equity grows much further when the meeting is in person, but only through audio for remote workers. 

Provide Clarity

Remote work lends itself to ambiguity. To overcome this hurdle, you should be crystal clear on goals, expectations and any timelines that are needed. It’s also easy to throw around a bunch of ideas or to-dos in virtual meetings as the meeting naturally progresses. Be clear on what has a priority and what does not to help people see how they need to allocate their time and resources. 

When it comes to clarity:

  • Review to-dos, who is responsible, and priority with your team at the end of the meeting. Gather a sense of agreement from the group before you close out the time. 
  • Answer questions and communicate how new items impact current tasks and expectations. 
  • Have a regular time of meetings on the calendar to keep things fresh and relevant.

As you set clarity around expectations, you should also ensure clear accountability and follow-up as needed. 

When it comes to accountability:

  • Identify who is ultimately responsible for the task. This is typically only one or two people. This doesn’t mean that they have to do all the work, but they do need to lead it to its conclusion. 
  • Leverage tools to track accountability – Dashboards, check-ins, business reviews, scorecards etc. 
  • Ensure everyone understands their part to play in meeting the larger team goal. 

If you are in remote worker and aren’t sure about the direction or who is accountable for what be sure to ask for it. Your leader may not be intentionally injecting ambiguity, they may not understand that their commutation is not clear. 

Take care of their social needs

Virtual meetings are fairly transactional. You meet at a set time to discuss a particular business item and then you go on to the next meeting. Too many virtual calls in a day or week can leave the person feeling disconnected from their peers and others that they work with and for.

No matter whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, we all desire a sense of belonging and fellowship. It’s funny how the small things in the office that we took for granted; the small talk, the dumb jokes, and debating silly inconsequential things are types of items that people miss.  

When it comes to caring for social needs:

  • Build time in the calendar with agenda-free items that give people a chance to catch up. 
  • Start off your small team and one-on-one meetings with check-in on personal items. Leaders have a tendency to skip this critical step in virtual meetings. 
  • Schedule get-togethers and team-building activities together. Keep in mind safety, inclusiveness and preferences of the group.
  • Survey the team on how they would want to support their social needs together. 

Eliminate the confusion, make sure everyone feels included in the journey and invest in others’ social needs.  By leading well in these three categories, you’ll be well on way to building a happy and productive remote team. 

Other PTB Remote Resources
Emotional Intelligence in a Remote World (show 258)
The mentality that closes the gap in remote work (show 252)
The habits that close the gap in remote work (show 253)
Become a great long-distance leader (show 212)

Make a better tomorrow.