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Employees and companies rely on flexible working time regulations. Pew Research estimates that about 7 in 10 of those who are eligible for virtual work do so. And McKinsey reports that more than half would like to continue working from home at least three days a week. Rather than waiting for a “return to normal,” business leaders need to prioritize managing remote teams to the best of their ability.
Becoming a better leader in the remote-first world of work isn’t as easy as increasing the frequency of video conferencing. Leaders need to understand how to create and maintain connections, whether with employees or customers, even when working in a digital workforce.
Leading through change (especially during a pandemic) is a challenge that deserves to be addressed more effectively and creatively.
How can those leading a remote team ensure their team members are taking advantage of live trainer training for upskilling or reskilling? Aside from offering aggressive and progressive benefits, what are the ways to keep virtual workers motivated and engaged? Where can you find diverse remote workers so they can better serve customers — and how do you keep current employees from leaving amid the Big Layoff?
Related: Remote work is here to stay: are you ready for the new way of life?
Retool your leadership talents to tackle remote and hybrid challenges
Answering these questions is difficult, but not impossible. Anyone can learn how to be a leader at work – even if everyone feels scattered or working on different personal schedules. The key is to understand what your team needs. McKinsey & Co. reports that employers often underestimate the relationship aspects of a job, such as B. the appreciation by their leaders and organizations and the sense of belonging. Employees, on the other hand, said these were some of the most important aspects to finding job satisfaction.
If you’ve been responsible for leading through change, read the following remote leadership tips to keep people connected no matter the distance. Work to improve your empathy, stay open to new opportunities, attract new talent, retain your best employees, and paint a clear picture for your employees to follow. That way, you can achieve success no matter where the future of work lies is directed.
See also: 6 Ways Connections Create a Sense of Belonging Anywhere, Any Workplace
1. Find mentors outside of your company or industry
When you’re at the top of your org chart, you won’t always be able to find mentors from within your organization—but it’s not always necessary. Mentors can do anything from cautioning advisors to sounding boards. So be open to looking for potential mentors outside of your area of expertise as well.
Considering joining a board of directors? Do it. Membership in a body unrelated to your industry, such as B. a non-profit body, gives you better access to potential mentors. They will discover which strategies have worked for them in their organizations – and which tactics have failed. One of the most valuable aspects of my service on the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools is my ability to share the challenges and opportunities associated with mentoring an adult learner. Perhaps you will find, like me, that your interactions as a board member could be the starting point for ingenious solutions to stay confident at the top in the ever-evolving world of work.
Related: Studies show the benefits of mentoring, so how do you find them?
2. Teach others
Mastering your craft is one thing; Sharing your knowledge is another. When you teach, position yourself as an expert. You also force yourself to find ways to pass your expertise on to learners. By mentoring employees or promoting mentoring programs within your organization, you create an empathetic bond with your subordinates and create more opportunities for active engagement.
Gallup figures suggest that the employee churn rate is around 85%. And with about two-thirds of young adults affected by loneliness, you can’t afford to ignore the importance of connecting your remote workers to you, each other, and your organization. The more committed your employees feel, the less likely they are to leave.
Your teaching doesn’t have to be formal mentoring, either. Set up short sessions where you act as the teacher. Feel free to think of other ways to share your knowledge, e.g. Such as writing how-to articles, creating videos, and creating infographics. Who knows? In the end, you could become a thought leader not only for your company but also for your area and increase your credibility with employees, colleagues and customers.
See also: How Entrepreneurs Make Connections in the Age of Isolation
3. Initiate focus groups
You may think you know how to lead the people you influence on a daily basis, but don’t let hubris guide you. Get a gut check by setting up regular focus groups. Employee and even client based focus groups can provide one of the greatest learning experiences you will ever have. Although it can be difficult to listen without responding during intense focus group sessions, do your best to just use your ears.
Focus groups with your remote and hybrid workers can enable you to uncover gaps in your communications or workflows. You’ll have better visibility into everyone’s attitudes, not to mention insight into any obstacles keeping your team members from realizing their true potential, 24/7 and off. Allow time for reflection after each focus group. Then use what you hear as a springboard for future decisions.
At the moment there is no clear workplace norm. Every organization faces a unique internal experiment as it navigates change. As a part-time or full-time virtual leader, you need to focus on improving your core competencies so you can be critical to yourself, your crew, and your business.