“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.”— Tom Peters
You’ve now had something more in common with other leaders over the past three months. Leading remote employees.
So how’s it going? Are you seeing the positives of a remote workforce? How about the negatives? There are most certainly examples of both, however, I’m seeing that the pros are outweighing the cons for those employees who are in a role where they can work remotely.
Some benefits that are starting to be observed…
- Better retention because of improved work-life balance. I also read an article from Gallup that shows employees are actually more engaged in their jobs today than they’ve been since Gallop began engagement surveys!
- A larger talent pool to hire from because location is not a requirement of employment like it once was. This not only helps you find more qualified candidates but has the opportunity to increase the diversity of your talent.
- Higher levels of productivity because, once employees got into the rhythm of working from home, they’re managing their time and interruptions better. Another big plus for productivity is the elimination of their commute to and from the office.
Some of the challenges still out there revolve around…
- Building and maintaining trust. For you as a leader, much of your value comes from managing activities and how are you trusting them if you can’t see them? If you can’t make this adjustment as a leader, you may have a tough time staying in a leadership position.
- The new communication challenges that come with not being in the same building. I see this as a challenge… but a real opportunity for leaders to proactively step up their communication skills!
Something else I’m seeing lately is that not all workers want to stay remote. I read a recent article where remote workers were asked about their preferences for getting back to the office once restrictions are lifted. About a quarter want to go back to the office. Another quarter would rather work from home for now because of concerns about the COVID-19, but would rather return to their regular workplace once the concerns subside. The remaining half of the remote workers said that if it were up to them, they would continue to work from home because they prefer it. This made me think about how one might lead half of the employees who are in the office compared to leading the other half who are working remotely.
One thing that I know for sure — There is no one size fits all approach to leading a team in an office or a remote team… because no employee is the same. Every employee approaches work with a unique set of expectations, concerns and experiences. They bring their own perspectives to the way they perform tasks and interact with those around them, especially during times of change and uncertainty. As a human leading other humans, your best bet is to stay as connected as you can by making sure that you are listening, asking good questions, soliciting feedback, and making sure they know what you expect from them and… they know what they can expect from you.
As a leader, a great way to maneuver through this challenging time is to connect with other leaders. You’re invited to join us on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month for a Leader Online Happy Hour. You’ll find other leaders who are likely facing many of the same challenges you are. Links are below to register for upcoming happy hours. Please feel free to register for any that might work for your schedule.