As leaders, delivering results and nurturing a dynamic work culture is no simple task. Add in the complexities of a global pandemic and you have the additional headaches of maintaining productivity and camaraderie when your entire, traditionally colocated, team goes 100% remote overnight. How can you help your team be productive and keep them connected, all while maintaining your own sanity?
Fortunately, for Jeff Satterwhite at VALiNTRY360, leading remotely is something he does best. Jeff is one of the firm’s managing partners and leads a team of digital transformation consultants who were 100% remote before the pandemic. Although working from home doesn’t impede them from being digital transformation experts, there are still challenges to practicing what they preach when it comes to having a process in place when it comes to remote work.
Jeff gives us 5 best practices for leading remote teams both now and in the future.
1. Accept Remote Work Isn’t a Fad
Many team leads would much rather get back to the good old days when we worked together in person. It’s easy to say, “once we get a vaccine, things will be like they used to be.” Don’t fall into this trap. The days of widespread cube farms and open office layouts are history. Create a plan and process for remote working that will scale with your business and stick with it. Focus on being productive in the current environment and don’t let pining for the past derail you.
2. Maintain Your Routine
Just because you don’t have an office to go to, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain your morning routine. Once you are “ready for work” and step into your home office, make a list of accomplishments that are required to get completed before you leave for the day. This will help center your mind, jumpstart your focus, and, when/if you return to the office, it will make the transition that much easier.
3. Trust Your Employees
You hired them for a reason. If they are as qualified as you believed they were on day one, they will still excel no matter where they are. So, focus on your team’s outcomes, not their hours. By allowing your team members the flexibility and support to make their own decisions about where they are more productive, you will engender trust in both your leadership and the organization which will ultimately help your retention rates in the long term.
4. Stay Connected
As humans, we were made for community. (Yes, even the introverts in the back.) So, it is imperative for leaders to schedule one-on-one time with team members, for your benefit and theirs. Despite what you may think, it’s not all about getting projects done. It’s about taking the opportunity to connect with your people on a more personal level. An example of how we do that at VALiNTRY360 is, we gather the team for virtual happy hours once a month. This allows leadership to be accessible but also enables the team to build bonds with each other. Creating these spaces for these connections will build trust and community that in turn help you make more team-oriented decisions and help you anticipate the team’s needs.
5. Give Yourself a Break
The last thing leaders need is more pressure, but that’s just what COVID-19 is adding. For many, working from home can remove any escape from the stress of work and it’s creating a workforce that’s more stressed and depressed than ever. Amid the constant demands and expectations to do more with less, it is important for leaders to prioritize and schedule “me time.” The simplest way to do this is to allocate short windows of time for distractions to break up the day. Examples of healthy, intentional interruptions could be going for a 15-minute walk in your neighborhood, scrolling through Instagram, or even practicing meditation or mindfulness. Allowing yourself and your team members the freedom to take restorative breaks throughout the day means you’re your minds will be clearer, stress levels lower, and productivity higher when you are working.
Leaders have had to rapidly adapt during this pandemic to meet the challenges of yet another “new normal” in this century. Perhaps the only silver lining is that this new normal will have lasting impacts on the nature of work. Leaders should lean into the reality that remote work is here to stay and will be more prolific than ever before post-pandemic. To be truly successful in this new environment, good leaders should trust their teams, focus on outcomes and connections, and remain flexible. Great leaders will succeed by creating organizations firmly imbued with each of these characteristics.
Are you ready to be one of these great leaders but don’t have the technology and tools in place the reach the next level? VALiNTRY360’s team of digital transformation experts can assist you in creating a system of impact that is tailored to your specific business needs. Click here to contact us and schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation today!