Leadership is hard—really hard. Now imagine trying to lead a team that is no longer in your line of sight five days a week.
Much of the basic management advice still holds, such as treating people the way you’d like to be treated and allowing people the opportunity to figure out how to best do the tasks you’ve assigned.
However, leading people remotely requires some adjustments in your management style.
Here are five things to consider when managing remotely.
1. Set boundaries. It’s too easy for work to flow into leisure time and vice-a-versa when working from home. As the leader, you are the one who must set the boundaries. These boundaries should be explicit. For example, “Emails are only to be sent during our normal business hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, M-F.” Set the example by not sending emails outside these hours, as people often feel the need to respond to the boss’s emails right away, even if they are not time-sensitive.
If you expect people to be at their desks at certain hours of the day, then say so. It’s good to set core hours upfront, so everyone on the team knows your expectations. Of course, things do come up, so try to be flexible.
2. Be there for your people. It’s easy to get lost in the demands of your work. However, being there for your team must be a priority. Stories of employees waiting weeks to speak with their boss are all too common.
Consider setting up “office hours.” Set aside a specific time weekly to be fully available to your team.
3. Not everyone is cut out for remote work. You may have people working remotely on your team who need more team interaction than others, and their work may reflect this. If this is the case, consider assigning a buddy or a mentor to them. Doing so could be just the boost they need to feel more connected.
You may also have people on your team who should not be working remotely. They may not follow the boundaries you’ve established, or this approach to work may not be well suited to them. If this is the case, you have a decision to make. You may require them to be in the office five days a week or decide it’s best to part ways. Whichever way you go, don’t let too much time pass before making your decision, as the quality of their work directly reflects on you and may be impacting your bottom line.
4. Be more intentional in your communication. In the past, you may have gotten by with a quick hello while passing by someone’s desk. Now that bumping into people in the office is happening much less; you must be more deliberate in your communication.
A quick virtual team huddle meeting on Monday mornings is a good way to kick off the workweek. When you need to speak with someone on your team, consider picking up the phone. Be sure to acknowledge employees for a job well done, rather than assuming they know you are delighted with their work.
5. Be emotionally available to your team members. Many people are still struggling to figure this whole hybrid work thing out. Let your employees know that you understand the challenges associated with hybrid work and are open to discussing how to improve this experience for them. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. If you’re finding this work style challenging, don’t be afraid to say so.
© Matuson Consulting, 2022.
Over the next several months, I’ll be hosting a 45-minute Masterclass titled, The Great Refusal to Work Lie, for CEOs, Business Owners, and Senior Executives interested in rapidly staffing their organizations with the right people AND retaining these people.
Email me at Roberta@matusonconsulting.com to apply for a complimentary spot and put “Refusal to Work Lie” in the subject line. The group size will be limited to ensure everyone has ample time to have their questions answered. More information on these classes to follow.