Whether you have been working with remote teams for a while, or are new to the concept, there are three specific things you can do to be an effective leader.
If you’re a leader of workers who work from home or work remotely, there are some key things that you can do to continue to be a great leader and also allow them to be productive and to help your company continue to grow. Anytime that you start having workers or even outsourced help who are working from home or working remotely, one of the key things that you need is really good communication. And what I recommend is if you normally would have employees in an office and maybe you have a weekly meeting or maybe you have a daily meeting to just make those meetings virtual. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to add more meetings to the schedule. We don’t need to take away from their productivity with more meetings. But if you can have simply a quick daily huddle, maybe every morning at 9:00 AM you have a 10 minute huddle where everybody gets on video, you talk about what the focus is for the day, what the priorities are for the week, and see if anybody has any challenges that are keeping them from doing their job.
That meeting can take 10 maybe 15 minutes tops. Everybody is on the same page when it comes to what the focus is of the company for that week or for that day, depending on how often you want to have these meetings. And then if there’s any challenges you know about them right away. So I highly recommend having these daily huddles or maybe weekly huddles or even if you want to have them departmental based. So maybe there’s a company huddle that is company wide, maybe bi-weekly or maybe once a month, but then the individual departments will huddle either weekly or daily depending on the need. Again, we don’t want to just add meetings to add meetings, to allow everybody to be on the same page. So definitely communicate with people, utilize some of these online tools that we have. Many companies have access to Microsoft teams or Skype or Zoom.
I personally love Zoom and the ease that it provides to speak with my customers and my employees when I need to connect with them person to person. So definitely utilize those tools. Maybe use Slack for internal quick conversations or quick questions that need to be answered immediately. Any of those tools can help you with that. So communication is key. Now along with communication, right with it is setting expectations. Productivity may look a little bit different when you have people working from home. There’s distractions that are different from home. But by setting those expectations to say, Hey, I need you to at least be available for phone calls between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM or I need you to be available to check support tickets from one in the afternoon till six in the evening. By setting those expectations so that as people are building their day and their schedule, they’re able to build those expectations into what other variables or flexibility may come along.
And so the third one that is really, really important is not to micromanage these employees. It’s one thing when we’re six feet away from somebody in an office and we can see them working, but it’s another thing when they may be off-site at another office building, or maybe they’re off site and working from their home. And people have a tendency to want to micromanage them. I’ve worked with clients who have wanted me to record every single thing that I did during a day and report back to them daily and it took me more time to build that report than it did half of the time to do my work. You want to make sure that if you’ve got, you know, even if you have an hourly employee who clocks in at eight o’clock in the morning and who’s clocking out at four o’clock in the afternoon and you know when they were physically present in your building, most companies don’t sit there and then also require that employee to record every single thing that they did that day – that they spent 20 minutes on the phone with client B, that they spent three hours checking email, that they spent two hours responding to support tickets or whatever that may be.
However you treat your employees in the office, you want to also treat them that same way when they’re working remotely. Don’t add to the burden, don’t add to things that are taking away from their productivity. But however you normally operate, that’s how they should normally be operating at home. And if you don’t trust your employee to actually be productive, then that actually has nothing to do with productivity. That’s an employee HR question that you probably need to investigate a little bit further. So hopefully that’s been helpful. Remember, communicate, set those expectations and don’t micromanage.