How do you motivate a remote team and lead them to feel empowered, autonomous, trusted to work with flexibility and retain the same level of productivity? All of which ultimately feeds into a virtuous circle of higher engagement, motivation, wellbeing and productivity.
Many people today are screaming for empowerment, autonomy and flexibility from their jobs. According to a survey by Total Jobs 49% of people leave their work due to a poor relationship with their line manager. Whilst the risk of people leaving of their own accord right now is more unlikely, maintaining engagement and motivation from a distance, under the pressure most people are facing right now, is more important than ever.
Here are three pointers for you, so you can be that person that says “Remote teams DO work”.
Your company values
This is their time to shine. Without the bricks and mortar and the intangible cultural benefits of face-to-face contact with your team, right now is the time to think about what your company values mean to you all and how to apply them to the current situation. Encourage your team to lean on them for how they manage and prioritise their activity and their decisions.
Lead by example by running virtual meetings with impact. The best meetings are those where the preparation and the tangible actions are given more effort than the duration of the actual meeting. But don’t forget to allow time for much needed human connection with positive opening and closing rounds! Which leads us onto my next point…
Introduce a new “Watercooler”, a safe space for people to have informal chat, this could be a new communication platform that you introduce, like Slack or Whatsapp. Build a little time into your daily huddle to catch up on how everyone is feeling.
Another benefit is that you can check in on the wellbeing of all team members, informally. I guess what I am saying here is be kind to yourself and to others. Make it okay to talk about how you’re all feeling. Even if that means admitting that you might be having a bad day or you’re tied up with childcare. Now is the time more than ever to prioritise being human over being a superhero.
As a leader you cannot build a higher level of engagement alone. Motivate your remote team by encouraging them to stay well connected, look out for each other’s wellbeing and build trust between each other in the absence of face to face contact.
Support and reinforce that safe space for connection and trust by engaging with it yourself, authentically. Tell your team that you plan to finish early because you didn’t give yourself a proper lunch break that day. Lead by example. Notice if individuals are working longer hours or not taking breaks – encourage them to remember to stretch their legs and make a cup of tea! Notice if your team are sending unnecessary emails to demonstrate they are working hard. Find different ways for them to update you on the projects you really care about.
Your ultimate aim is to create a remote workspace that gives your team, autonomy, empowerment and fulfilment in their role. And one that enables them to do their best work and create space for what matters.