It can be difficult to stay motivated and focused when you're not in the same physical space as your team. This also makes it tricky to build rapport and trust with team members who you don't see on a daily basis. What’s more, it can be harder to manage and resolve conflict when you're not in the same room as everyone else. However, there are some ways to overcome these challenges. With a little effort, you can successfully lead your team even when you're not in the same place.
Here are a few tips to help you stay connected and effective as a leader:
Schedule regular check-ins, but don’t micromanage
One of the great things about working remotely is that it gives team members the flexibility to manage their own time. As long as team members are meeting their deadlines, there's no need to micromanage their every move. In fact, having regular check-ins too often can actually interfere with productivity by interrupting concentration and disrupting workflow.
For the most part, it's best to let team members work independently. This not only respects their time and privacy, but it also fosters a sense of trust and responsibility – something incredibly important for employees looking for remote jobs in the digital age.
However, it’s important to have something in your schedule to check in on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Just keep the focus of the meetings to help you stay up-to-date on projects and identify any areas where someone might need extra support – not to check up on them.
Utilise video conferencing
If possible, schedule video calls instead of just audio calls. There are a number of reasons why video conferencing is an essential tool for managers who are working remotely.
First, it allows for more effective communication. Video conferencing makes it possible to see nonverbal cues and expressions that can help to clarify meaning and intention. In addition, video conferencing can help to build rapport and trust among team members. When team members are able to see and interact with one another on a regular basis, they are more likely to feel like part of a cohesive unit. In short, video conferencing is an essential tool for any manager who is working remotely.
Encourage open communication
One of the challenges of managing a remote team is that you can't always be there in person to check in with your employees. This is why it's so important to encourage open communication, so that you can stay up to date on what's going on and provide the support your team needs. Let your team know that they can come to you with any concerns or questions they have. Creating an open and supportive environment will help everyone feel more comfortable working together, even if they're not in the same physical space.
When everyone feels comfortable communicating openly, it can help to build trust and camaraderie within the team. Additionally, open communication can help to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications from happening. If you're not sure how to encourage open communication, try:
- Holding regular video meetings
- Sending out regular surveys
- Creating an online forum where team members can post questions or ideas
By following these tips, you can successfully lead your team whilst working remotely.