COVID-19 brought many challenges for business owners. One of the biggest being adapting to having workers transition to working remotely. While roughly a quarter of employees in the US worked from home in 2019, that number shot up in 2020. A Gallup poll found that 70% of workers were working remotely by April. That number went down to 58% by September but remained there for the rest of the year. This abrupt transition can be overwhelming for anyone. So we have compiled a list of tips for business owners, managers, or anyone else who is finding themselves leading a team of remote (or mostly remote) individuals.
1. Establish expectations
Make sure that you are clear with what your expectations are for your team before starting. Lay out exactly what you need and when. Do this regularly too! Once a project is finished, set the expectations for your next project, and keep this routine up for any subsequent projects. This will help make sure that everyone involved understands what their responsibilities are and the timeframe they are working with.
2. Communicate like crazy
Communication is vital to operating efficiently with your team. If there is ever a time where you are not sure about something, make sure you communicate. Ask questions, check in with your team members, make sure everything is running smoothly. Whether it be through email, text, or zoom, your communication (or lack thereof) can make or break a project.
3. Stay organized
While being organized is important to all work, staying organize while leading a remote team is essential. Some team members may put in their hours in the morning, some during the evening. Some of them might prefer emailing over texting. Keeping yourself organized will help you be on top of things and be an A+ leader.
4. Be flexible
What might work in an office setting, might not work with a remote team. That is why being flexible is key to a smooth project. This is also another reason why setting expectations at the start of a project is so important. Things happen beyond our control, so being flexible to that will eliminate unnecessary stress.
5. Celebrate progress and success
Make sure you give your team a pat on the back when you have successes! At times, working remotely can be isolating. It feels wonderful to be told you are doing a great job – so be sure to encourage and congratulate your team when they make progress. Not only does it boost morale, but it shows that you care about them succeeding.