Best Practices for How to Lead a Distributed Workforce Effectively

Best Practices for How to Lead a Distributed Workforce Effectively

The days of every employee working full time in a shared office are gone, and workers know it. Hybrid work benefits companies, leading to a 35 percent reduction in quit rates with zero impact on performance or promotions. Remote work has become such a mainstay.

This shift to remote and hybrid work represents an opportunity for business leaders to learn how to effectively manage a distributed workforce, and it’s not through more awful Zoom calls. We have best practices that are for managing remote and hybrid employees:

Formalize informal habits
Because remote workers don’t meet up by the water cooler, it’s not easy to build a team who are in tune with one another. A way to help this is formalizing some of the informal ways that co-workers build relationships. As an example, in weekly or monthly planning meetings we all begin by sharing a personal win along with a work win. This allows your team to celebrate informal things like winning a fantasy football match alongside their setting a meeting with a promising partner.

Communicate the core company hours and flex hours
Employees can work across many different time zones, so it’s not always easy to schedule meetings. The solution best found is to set the company core hours (when everyone at the company needs to be available to meet) and flex hours (when employees can set their own schedules). These policies are set by each team.

Train managers to empathize and listen
To lead a distributed team one could begin with setting strong achievable goals for every employee and trusting them to get things done. Best practice is for this is only to be done in the beginning. Remote managers also need to listen and empathize with every employee’s situation to find the right way to follow through on these goals and help each worker be their best. Make remote management training an integral part of your remote work culture. These trainings don’t have to be a super formal effort. Just work with your team regularly on this concept, listen to them constantly, and make sure they’re teaching their team in turn.

In addition to these best practices, remember managing a distributed team is a constant work-in-progress. More mistakes will be made in this area than you may like, but what helps improvement is to recognize that change has happened in the past two years. With that in mind, if one hasn’t changed how they are managing their team in response to this paradigm shift, you are absolutely making a mistake. The future of work is taking shape right now, so it’s time to be proactive and make the adjustments necessary to lead successfully.

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