Leading Remote Teams: Our “New Normal”

By Bryan Nadeau, PCC. Yes, leading remote teams is our new normal. The definition of remote has taken on a new meaning, working from home (WFH), not just defined as distance. Not everyone will be coming back into the office and that is a good thing for many reasons. One being for the environment, two for overall productivity. A 2013 study by Stanford University Professor Nicholas Bloom, showed WFH employees had a 13% increase in productivity. 

You will have people that want to go back to the office and those that enjoy working from home. How to best configure your team? As a leader, you have been doing this for a while. Use these strategies to help you figure out how to do WFH long-term:

  1. What has worked, not worked, and why. Survey your team and ask them what they think is working, what isn’t working, and why it isn’t working. Use this data to restructure your team to function better.
  2. Set boundaries around work hours. When working from home, the boundaries between work and home life blur. Work with your team to set clear boundaries on when is work time and when is home time.
  3. Ergonomics. Come up with a plan on how to support your WFH team members in their set-up to reduce injuries later.
  4. Set aside time for check-ins. Set aside the first 5 or 10 minutes of your meeting to do a check-in to see how everyone is doing. This allows for socializing that usually happens during in-person meetings.
  5. Keep an eye on those that might be struggling. WFH can be isolating if processes are not put in place to combat that isolation and may require more frequent check-ins.
  6. Celebrate success. Just because your team is remote, it doesn’t mean it isn’t important to celebrate the team’s success and as well as birthdays and personal successes. Virtual birthday cakes, to virtual fireworks are a couple of ways to celebrate. 
  7. Active Listening. Active listening is even more critical with remote employees. With the loss of in-person, non-verbal cues, leaning in and hearing what the team is saying will help fill in those gaps. For more about listening skills
  8. In-person gathering at least once a year. After this pandemic is over, there will be opportunity to bring the team together. It is important that the whole team gather at least once a year in person to help re-enforce shared connection and purpose.

This is an exciting time for reimagining how corporations/teams work and function. Embrace this “new norm” and all the possibilities. Yes, there will be challenges, reframe them and see the opportunities to improve.

To learn more about leadership and leading WFH teams for the long-term, schedule a consultation with Bryan.