As we’ve all learned from the past year, there are many benefits to working from home, but it’s not without its challenges. This is true for both employees and team leaders, as leading from a distance has had to become a new skill for many.
The more team leaders are able to embrace remote work and manage their teams effectively, the better workplaces will become. Here are 6 simple strategies that have helped us lead our remote team.
1. Stay Connected
Keeping your team connected takes a little more effort when you’re not sharing an office space. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to stay in their own lonely bubbles.
It’s important for team leaders to schedule both team and one-on-one check-ins on a regular basis. These don’t have to be overly long or overly formal. The goal is to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that everyone on your team feels like they have access to you.
And take advantage of all the apps currently available, that make communication, community conversations and team building much easier. We find Slack to be a priceless tool for collaborating and staying connected.
2. Get Organized
Gone are the days of the communal company filing cabinet that everyone can access. Today’s remote team leaders will still need to keep their teams well organized, but from a distance. The best way to accomplish this is by using project management software. For example, we like to use Asana to manage projects, workflows, and team collaboration.
Your needs will vary based on your company and industry, but try to find good cloud-based software to help coordinate your team and their efforts.
3. Foster Connections
One of the good things to come out out the pandemic has been a renewed focus on employee mental health and well-being. And we’re fully on board for this new trend! One was we do this is by encouraging and supporting health relationships on our team.
Virtual CFO has always been very team focused, and we choose to be highly collaborative both within our internal team and the companies we work with.
So it’s important to us to foster organic relationships among our employees, with fun activities like a recent ‘selfie scavenger hunt,’ and planned lake-days.
When your team is remote, it’s even more important to spend time and connect in person in order to build the camaraderie needed to accomplish your goals together.
4. Be Clear About Expectations
Employees can’t perform to the best of their abilities if they aren’t given the tools they need to succeed. And one of those tools is a clear understanding of their job duties and what’s expected of them. This is certainly as true for remote teams as it is for traditional ones.
Having a clear guide gives people structure, which is particularly important when people are working from home or the road.
5. Focus on Outcomes
When working from home, give your staff more control over their schedules, and focus on outcomes than hours. In fact, when people have more flexibility and control over their schedules, they can actually be more productive.
This is why it’s important to be clear about expectations in the first place, so both you and your team know what performance indicators they’re expected to hit each day.
6. Adjust Communication Styles
Last but certainly not least is to be extra aware of how you’re communicating on the web. Misunderstandings abound in the virtual world. An email you think is straightforward and direct may come off as rude. And it’s easy to take jokes the wrong way on Slack. All of this can really hurt team morale.
That’s why team leaders need to take extra care to review and assess their online messaging. Make sure you’re just as friendly and empathetic over text as you are in person. We also like to use Loom, which is an app that makes it easy to share quick video messages, which are much less prone to misinterpretation.
And remember that our team is always here, to help make your (virtual!) accounting much easier. Contact us here to learn more.