While remote and hybrid work existed before the pandemic, many workers are now making employment contingent on flexible work opportunities. In fact, according to FlexJobs, 58% of employees would consider resigning to adopt an alternative schedule. To engage and retain employees, businesses need to offer more flexibility and learn how to manage a remote team.
Businesses need to understand how to provide work/life balance while maintaining a productive and connected environment, even from home. Leading remote teams is a learnable skill that your leaders must master in order to properly manage and engage with employees. Here are a few effective ways to do so.
1. Practice frequent communication and inclusion.
Because many remote teams only connect through their computer screens, communication can be a challenge. However, employees are more productive when they feel managers are communicating with them effectively. One of the most important things a remote leader can do is communicate frequently with their workforce.
Discuss expectations with employees often and document employees’ communication preferences. Understanding when to send a quick Slack message and when to hop on a video call will better utilize company time and lead to stronger outcomes.
2. Prioritize emotional intelligence and empathy in the workplace.
While most professionals understand that the goal of work is to support a business, employers often neglect the relational aspect. Workers want to feel respected by managers and peers. Building a culture that supports this will help employees understand that their work and perspectives are seen and valued.
This environment helps the business, too—when workers feel heard and appreciated, they’re more comfortable sharing feedback and ideas, which drives innovation and growth.
3. Focus on employee relationship-building.
Hybrid and remote work offer several benefits, but also have downsides, namely, employee disengagement. Remote workers risk loneliness, but there are tactics remote leaders can use to help people feel more connected. For example, managers and directors can lead focus groups to determine communication gaps.
Also, leaders can provide opportunities for teams to meet up at a co-working space or coffee shop for a change of scenery and a chance to connect. Plus, leaders can have one-on-one sessions with each team member to engage and provide mentorship.
With opportunities for connection, communication and mentorship, leaders will be able to effectively engage teams, no matter where they are.
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