How to Lead, Drive Engagement and Create a Culture for Remote Workers
While there are many advantages for those of us still working from home, it seems fair to say that it has been difficult to achieve what was once deemed easy, such as building working relationships, trust and a sense of community that’s normally associated with working together in an office.
Leaders are facing new challenges such as flexible working, communication, and expectations; all while trying to create a culture of togetherness that can drive engagement and keep up productivity. It has been a difficult adjustment, with motivation and wellbeing being necessary focus points for many employers.
It is critical that team leaders and managers employing a remote workforce make a significant shift in how they lead and engage with employees as this way of working looks to be here to stay for the foreseeable.
The right approach
There are many ways to facilitate a productive working relationship with your remote team.
Get to know your team individually
Overall, it’s about your team’s individual needs, and how they best operate remotely. Schedule regular catchups with each team member and keep the communication channel open and honest, that way they’ll feel able to voice any concerns, and you can understand their working environment and how they like to work. This information can then inform your decisions, especially when leading and motivating a team from afar.
A culture of inclusion
Communication is key, but so is inclusion. When not working in the office, it can be all too easy to overlook employees working remotely. Include everyone in all team meetings, either via video conference, or phone. Create opportunities for your remote team to connect, whether that be through virtual events or social learning experiences, and ensure that your employees have a platform to maintain working relationships and a strong company culture. Bring back the weekly Quiz from lockdown one or ask each team member to write a blog post detailing their lockdown-life and present it to the team; have a drinks evening, or a Monday morning tea break.
With many workers feeling isolated and lonely during this time, any staff events will help to support employees and give everyone an opportunity to check in with each other. It is important that mental well-being is supported over the coming months and that everyone can access support and care when they need it.
Make sure expectations are clearly defined as many remote workers can feel disconnected from company goals when working outside of the office. Defining expectations will help all employees understand what their role is and what is expected of them – this is essential to retaining structure and employee engagement within the business.
Flexible and remote working has lots of benefits both from an individual’s perspective and from a business perspective. It can help businesses attract and retain talent from new talent pools and offer people new opportunities previously closed to them. However, as remote working becomes further embedded into many companies, we need to continually assess how we lead and drive engagement through a company culture that reflects our new normal.
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