Since March 2020, remote and hybrid working has become the norm. Studies show that 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the United States alone, highlighting just how different the workplace is now.

With this enormous shift to remote work, leaders have had to reimagine the way they engage, interact, and manage the workforce. Previous leadership techniques have had to be adapted and new ways of managing virtual teams have come to the fore.

In this article, we’ll look at some practical tips for how to lead a virtual team successfully in a way that is practical, straightforward, and easy to implement. 

Leading A Remote Team
Image by DCStudio on Freepik

  • Clarify Roles, Expectations, And Purpose

In a time when change has become a constant and there’s still some uncertainty around the state of the workplace system, people need clarity more than ever before. 

Without clear-cut expectations and communication, it will be very difficult for employees to stay confident and consistent in their roles within the team. When you understand your purpose and what’s expected of you from superiors, doing your job well becomes much easier. 

Those in charge of delegation and team management need to hone in on their communication skills and emphasize what’s expected of employees throughout each step of a project. This is the core of leadership in any circumstance, but especially from a remote working perspective. 

Whether this clarification involves virtual meetings or the use of collaboration software to continually communicate requirements depends on the dynamic of the team and the work requirements.   

  • Establish A New Rhythm And Consistent Work Environment  

In the face of such dramatic change, it can be tempting to want to keep things as normal and close to the past as possible. However, accepting that things are different and finding a new rhythm can actually help you and your team cope with the changes in a much more effective way. 

Consistency is still important for the functionality of your team. But it no longer has to look the same as it used to. A “new rhythm” could look like: 

  • Shorter, more frequent daily breaks  
  • Switching to a new communication platform 
  • Committing to different meeting times 
  • Being stricter about after-hours communication

Whatever changes you decide to make for the sake of your remote team, remember to introduce them clearly. This time represents a new chapter in corporate culture. Make sure to treat it as such by being open, enthusiastic, and thorough about any official systemic changes.

  • Create A Culture Of Transparency And Visibility

One of the things people from around the world have been struggling with since leaving the traditional workplace is the lack of visibility that comes with it. This is especially true for new employees who haven’t yet had the opportunity to really connect with their team. 

Promoting a culture of openness, transparency, and visibility for each team member can really help to boost morale and allow people to approach their tasks with more security and confidence. 

  • Use The Correct Tech Tools To Promote Collaboration and Communication

The remote work atmosphere may be very different from the traditional brick-and-mortar one, but there is an abundance of tools that can help people to cope with those differences.

Tech tools make remote work a lot easier, and they are widely accessible online. Some of the best collaboration and communication tools include popular software programs like Asana, Trello, Slack, and a generous variety of others, all aimed at streamlining virtual collaborative efforts. 

  • Empower Employees And Encourage Self-Leadership

In a remote setting, there’s a lot of back-and-forth between leaders and employees, some of which can be unnecessary and time-consuming for everyone. 

But once your employees have everything they need and a strong understanding of what’s expected of them, encouraging them to take more initiative is something everyone can benefit from. 

That doesn’t mean leaving people to their own devices or asking them to fulfill tasks they aren’t equipped to handle. However, it does mean allowing for a little more room when it comes to them making independent decisions. 

Employees that have enough experience in their roles are perfectly capable of making certain decisions without running them by superiors every time. Allowing them to do so can also help to demonstrate your trust in their skills. 

  • Track Capacity, Milestones, And Productivity

When you’re not all sharing one office, it can become difficult for everyone on the team to know where they stand with regard to project milestones, goals, and productivity status. Team leaders are now tasked with the responsibility of highlighting these things from a remote perspective.

Employees are craving clarity and information relating to their work more than ever. This means that leaders need to create and maintain a work system that ticks all these boxes. 

You can use project management software to track team productivity and give employees round-the-clock access to information. You can clearly explain which tasks are complete, which tasks are currently being worked on, and which ones need to be worked on next. Tools like Kanban boards work well for this. 

  • Focus On Team Well-Being

Studies show that 90% of women going through menopause don’t get any support from their workplace, and 48% of remote employees suffering from burnout have no support from their employers. There are so many areas of health and well-being that still don’t get the attention they need and can have an impact on performance and productivity. 

Making employee well-being a priority isn’t just a humanitarian thing to do, it’s also a practical choice. By prioritizing the engagement, satisfaction, and overall vitality of employees, leaders can run a much happier and more productive team. 

Focusing on well-being can look like flexible work hours, mentorship programs, providing free or discounted well-being activities, and offering support for mental and physical health challenges. 

Leading The Way To A Remote Future

The past few years have seen some dramatic changes to workplace culture. But as the world evolves, so must we. That’s why it’s so important for corporate team leaders to adjust their management approach and fine-tune it for this new era of virtual and remote working. 

By using the right tools, establishing clearer boundaries, and promoting a better balance between work and personal life, those in leadership roles can lead their teams to success.