3 Ways Leaders Can Support Remote Employees

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Remote work has been making headlines, and rightfully so. Measures introduced to combat the global health crisis meant that many businesses had to adapt with their employee force working remotely for the first time.

As companies continue to navigate the disruption, it is clear that work and the physical office may never be the same. Despite the changes, many business leaders remain unsure about how they can successfully manage a rapidly developing workforce of remote workers.

Here are three ways leaders can support remote employees now and in the future.

Have empathy

As a leader, you are already well aware that your company’s people are its most valuable resource — a main reason why you should exhibit empathy to your employees.  Depending on their individual situation, some team members may be dealing with extenuating circumstances while working from home, like juggling their children’s needs or taking care of an elderly parent.  If they are still getting the work done, try to be understanding of your employees’ challenges and express that you are there to support them in any way they need.

“By putting people first, especially during challenging times, and giving them the space to virtually grow and connect with others in their workplace, businesses will see positive impacts,” says HR executive Dania Shaheen.

Don’t micromanage

If you aren’t working together in a physical office space, then it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what your employees are doing at any given moment. It’s okay to be curious about how engaged your team is with their projects and timelines, but there also has to be some leeway.  The best leaders do not focus on whether their employee is glued to their workspace 8+ hours per day.  Instead, they focus on their overall output and accomplishments.

Connect on a human level

One component of remote work that is often overlooked is how challenging it can be to maintain coherency.  For example, if a team member is having trouble understanding a project’s requirements, instead of shooting out another email, it would be beneficial for the leader to take 20 minutes on a Zoom call to contact employees and explain the project face-to-face.

 As Toronto-based business leader G. Scott Paterson has learned, leaders can and should use tools and technology to ensure bottom-line goals are being met, but they should keep in mind the bigger picture of ensuring employees are engaged, happy and productive. Oftentimes, a small thank you goes a long way in reminding them that they are valued and that their work isn’t going unnoticed.

The bottom line is leaders need to recognize that employees are people first and they too are navigating their work day under new circumstances.  Leaders should be flexible, understanding and encourage open lines of communication at all times.

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