More workers are being productive remotely, but do leaders have the skills to keep them on track?

Fluid flexibility: How to manage a remote team

 

The typical nine-to-five just isn’t the norm anymore. Whether it’s family life, business travel or a time-consuming holiday getting in the way, shifting working patterns are now just part of modern life.

Allowing employees freedom has its benefits for businesses. They will likely stay motivated and productive for longer if there’s a little less structure in their days. Despite the positives, how does a leader coordinate and make sure everyone is pulling together and goals are being hit?

The simple answer is, not easily. However, these tips can help any manager who is looking to keep a scattered team on track:

Use technology

As workplaces in general become more progressive, managing change effectively is ever-more important. The old adage goes that you can ‘adapt or die’. While that statement is a little dramatic, it is perfectly apt for modern leadership.

A displaced workforce may find communicating more difficult, so being innovative is crucial. Using everything from Skype to FaceTime can help smooth the process. In fact, as employees will likely feel more comfortable at home than they would in a strict office environment, collaboration through tech may throw up some ideas that wouldn’t have been thought of otherwise.

Set guidelines

A big issue with working remotely is the fact that each individual within the team may have to be ‘always on’. While flexible hours are one thing, having some semblance of a normal working day will be beneficial, particularly if the business is outward facing and deals with customers who are used to the typical nine-to-five routine.

Getting the work done is first and foremost, but don’t be afraid to set boundaries and guidelines if one of the team thinks it’s a good idea to send emails and make phone calls in the dead of night.

Be fair

The problem with having employees outside of the office is that it blurs the expectations of exactly how much work they can get done. For example, as members of the team will likely have access to their email at all times, expecting them to solve problems immediately as they arise can become the norm.

To be a great leader of a remote team, it’s important to consider that staff wellbeing comes first, and overworking them will only be detrimental in the long-term.


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