Leadership is among the chief work tasks now conducted in a remote fashion. And rather than regarding this fact as an inconvenience, it should be regarded as a golden opportunity—one that actually will lead to long-term changes in your corporate infrastructure.
The managing of a remote workforce will differ slightly from company to company. Yet every remote office model should be based around a central core of compatibility among your team members. You must trust and respect one another, be inclusive and transparent, and share a common vision.
Once you’ve established the best team for this long-term remote work assignment, then give them a strong technological foundation based in software and hardware. In order to work thoroughly and proficiently from home, your employees must possess the right, most up to date equipment and tools to get the job done. This includes a full stock of PC’s, laptops, a reliable Internet connection, etc., arranged in a work studio setup. Ask your employees what they need in terms of technology and give it to them; all the while aware that virtually every form of electronics is available in an affordable, economically sensible version.
Meeting software with messaging functions, such as Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, can come in handy, as can time-efficient communication. Your IT support can help guarantee the reliability and security of all systems and networks used.
Also start exploring cloud-based platforms from major CAD software providers. Aside from composing drawing sets, firms must determine a method of remote file management. Technology companies have switched to the cloud, which secures data, adhering to best practices for account management and access. Your servers might be upgraded to allow for bandwidth and capacity to manage your total workforce, accessing them on a remote basis anytime day or night.
As a leader, you must clarify both your and your clients’ expectations to your employees—and, furthermore, how you will communicate and collaborate to reach your common objectives. And you must devise ways to check on the progress of their work, as well as their overall work performance.
Clearly outline to workers the tasks and priorities that drive your project, as well as a clear delivery schedule. Also let them know of any changes in schedule or objective—keep them up to date!
Also, check in with them often—not to spy on them as they work, but to give them direction, answer their questions, and to ensure that they are enjoying the job and doing it well.
And even though you’re working remotely, you still can have intensive conversations with employees who might be facing challenges, to reassess and reestablish priorities, and to send forth clear written and verbal directives to guide their performances.
In other words, use your Internet connection to make a real connection with any and all members of your team.
During this period where time is of the essence, you may—ironically enough—want to do away with time trackers and pay by accomplishment.
Also keep in mind that this new model of operation actually can facilitate heightened productivity, as you don’t have to devote time to long commutes and designated lunch hours. Now you have time to learn new software, develop business systems or study a new way of doing better business. And you can arrange more frequent meetings and check-ins with key staff members. These can be conducted via meeting technology like MS teams, Skype, etc.
Yet even as you strive to keep it professional in a new and challenging environment, please show patience and understanding to your employees, who suddenly find themselves blending their work and home lives—sometimes to uneasy or uncertain effect. Be sure to ask how you can help them, and don’t expect them to be available and in work mode all hours of the day or night.
Furthermore, be sure to apply the same rule to yourself. Take your own time away at regular intervals to spend time with your family, to read, to exercise, to study and to take care of yourself.
Then get back to work—your team will be waiting!