Leading a team in the best of circumstances can be a challenge…leading a team during a global pandemic and in a new virtual landscape is a whole different animal. While the end of the pandemic is in site, research suggests that almost half of employees would prefer to continue to WFH even after the pandemic is no longer a threat.
The pandemic accelerated an impending shift toward more flexible and virtual work environments, and it’s unlikely that we’ll be headed back to the “old days” anytime soon. As top talent expects and demands more flexibility in their work environments, leadership skills must transcend the traditional work environment to a virtual setting. Here are 5 tips to maximize and motivate your employees in a remote work setting.
- Increase the frequency of your check-ins
A recent study by the New York Times found that remote work and the subsequent decreased face-time with managers have left remote employees feeling paranoid. In a virtual setting, employees have less opportunity and access to cues to assess their status with their leader, which leads to overanalyzing emails and other messages.
To combat paranoia and maximize engagement, increase your check-ins with direct reports. They don’t need to be formal, but rather an opportunity to seek feedback on how things are going, offer support, provide feedback (positive and constructive), and reinforce that you care and are accessible…even virtually.
- Over communicate
Remember the 6x rule? An individual needs to hear a message six different times before they internalize it. It’s easy for the channels of communication to get lost in a virtual world. Over communicate messages to your team using various mediums (email, phone call, Zoom meeting, etc.) and be sure to check for understanding. Remember: no one can deliver on an expectation you didn’t clearly set.
- Encourage meaningful problem-solving
The Harvard Business Review recently found that giving employees meaningful problems to solve was the #1 motivator for remote teams. Ask your team to solve challenging problems that add significant and tangible value to your function or organization. Better yet? Give them the chance to collaborate with other team members.
- It’s actually the destination…not the journey
As the typical “work day” becomes more flexible, it’s important that you evaluate your team based on their outcomes, not how they got there. When assigning projects, focus on the “what,” “when,” and “why,” but intentionally leave out the “how.” Giving employees the latitude to deliver on an outcome without step-by-step instructions increases motivation and accountability and also allows space for the flexible execution conducive to a remote setting.
- More Choices = More Motivation
According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, employees working remotely have felt the struggle with maintaining motivation. If possible for your organization, giving employees the choice between working remotely and working in the office increases motivation, regardless of where they ultimately decide to work from.