6 Ways to Overcome the Challenges of Leading Remote Teams

Kent Gregoire is a Entrepreneurial organization (EO) member and founder of Symphony Advantage, a boutique, targeted consultancy. As one of the world’s first certified Conscious Capitalism consultants, he helps organizations unleash their entrepreneurial spirit for good. We asked Kent how entrepreneurs can successfully transition teams to remote working while making the world a better place. This is what he shared:

The Covid-19 pandemic ushered in a new era in the way we work – or rather: true we work. Before the pandemic, only 6 percent of professionals worked primarily from home. Now, more than 70 percent of US white-collar workers work remotely. While some companies return in person, others choose or are forced to adapt to remote working to satisfy employees. an overwhelming 86 percent of professionals want to work from home, and 55 percent said they would consider quitting if their employer requires them to go back to the office. Companies must quickly adapt to and reshape the new reality in the workplace to help teams express their talent to the fullest.

It is a challenge with both obstacles and opportunities. On the one hand, many managers have the outdated belief that employees need to be monitored to remain productive, although 77 percent of homeworkers show increased productivity. I believe that encouraging employees to create environments that work for them rather than conforming to a particular environment improves productivity. On the other hand, business leaders report: reduced innovation levels in remote work environments – which could be disastrous for both businesses and society as a whole.

I believe that the decline in the overall level of innovation is due to several factors. First, employees are no longer exposed to the makeshift interactions that create a shared sense of identity. This often leads to feelings of social isolation and diminishing trust between team members, as it is more difficult to develop close relationships virtually. The lack of effective collaboration within external institutions also affects a company’s ability to bring together different perspectives and capabilities. Finally, both employees and leaders report professional development Challenges: Remote working makes it increasingly difficult for novice workers to learn from more experienced professionals.

These difficulties are rooted around one major obstacle: how to communicate effectively in this new work environment. The sheer number – and sometimes ineffectiveness – of available means of communication often proves overwhelming. One in three remote workers also report having only a somewhat clear understanding of what is expected of them. The combination of ineffective virtual meetings and the difficulty of measuring performance remotely perpetuates these problems.

While the nuances of remote working pose challenges for business leaders, hope remains on the horizon. Here are six solutions to help leaders create successful remote work environments for their teams:

Promote personal interactions

Creating shared experiences with employees combats feelings of isolation and helps build trust between team members. Create opportunities for face-to-face meetings regularly. Ensure that employees from all departments are present to promote a collective sense of identity. Corporate retreats are a great option to create these opportunities over several days for maximum impact.

Implement “discover you” sessions

When working remotely, it’s important to explore ways for employees to connect on a personal level. Start meetings by asking each team member about their personal highlight of the week. That’s just one example of how employees can share their lives outside of work to build meaningful relationships with colleagues.

Make use of virtual reality

When used correctly, virtual reality can be an innovative solution for teams, especially when it comes to discussing emotionally charged topics such as sexual harassment or prejudice in the workplace. VR provides a safe place for employees to share feelings and perspectives. However, keep in mind the learning curve associated with VR technology and offer appropriate training.

Act like a coach instead of a manager

To succeed, remote workers need less micromanaging and more mentoring. Management teams should ask questions rather than provide answers, and make an active effort to facilitate team development.

Set clear expectations and let go

Make sure your employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and the tools to fulfill those expectations. Then rely on their ability to get the job done as you evaluate performance to overcome any issues.

Avoid Hybrid Meetings

Hybrid meetings are essentially the worst of both worlds: the playing field is level when everyone is physically present or logs in remotely. However, the dynamics change when some meeting participants are remote and others are in the office. Hybrid meetings make it more difficult to create equal opportunities for participation.

It takes a conscious effort to create an environment where employees can truly thrive in an external environment. While it may not be an easy option, it is a concrete example of conscious capitalism, which aligns profits with people and the planet. Working remotely is better for the environment, because employees no longer have to commute. It’s also more inclusive with fewer barriers – especially geographic ones – to traditional office work. And, with lower operating costs, it has a direct impact on the bottom line: a real win-win-win.

The opinions expressed here by businesstraverse.com columnists are their own, not businesstraverse.com’s.

Shreya Christinahttps://businesstraverse.com
Shreya has been with businesstraverse.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesstraverse.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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