young lady typing on keyboard of laptop in living room as a remote worker
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Leading remote workers is difficult. When you are in an office, you have a pulse on what is happening. You can pop into someone’s office for a quick meeting or to see how they are doing. It is a more focused environment, where everyone is there to get a job done.

As a leader, I am sure you have had these thoughts about your employees at some point while they are working remotely:

Are they sitting at their desk working when they are supposed to be?

Are they completing assignments?

Are they staying focused?

Are they doing enough for what I am paying them?

The bottom line, leading remote workers can be difficult.

Changing the Conversation

It is time to change the conversation around your employees while working from a distance. It is time to treat them as adults, to let them accomplish their tasks and not be obligated to a time period of work.

You can increase their engagement even from a distance if you start treating them with respect and give them the responsibility to get their job done.

Here are some practical ways to lead your team to avoid remote worker burnout.

1. Ask them how they are doing.

Seems simple, but often we make the call about a specific issue and don’t take the time to see how they are really doing. We live in a weird time right now and people need to know you as a leader cares beyond the job to be completed.

2. Look at your employees work and adjust timelines accordingly.

If you have someone working at home, and they live in CA for instance, they most likely have kids doing school at home. They probably feel like they are drowning. Adjusting when items need to be accomplished provides less stress in their lives. Feeling less stress may actually lead them to accomplishing it sooner.

3. Give 30 minutes between virtual meetings.

There is such thing as Zoom fatigue. Not simply being on a screen, but the communication aspect is taxing. You can’t see certain verbal cues if the video is on their head only. In gallery view, your brains central vision is being challenged as you try to figure out what others are doing/not doing during the meeting. Give your people a break to recoup between meetings.

4. Establish a virtual coffee break.

Optional of course! Set aside 15 minutes once or twice a week where your team can gather to chat, like they would in the break room. Don’t discuss any work related items during this time.

Here’s a bonus: Listen to them. Don’t just listen to the words they are saying. Listen to how they interact or don’t interact in conference calls. Listen to the quality of their work. When you listen to what they are saying, you can lead them in the best way possible.

Which will you implement today?

If you are a leader or emerging leader who wants to lead with meaning and purpose, then let’s connect. Join me at the Emerging Leaders Network (a group on Facebook) community designed for leaders to collaborate on best practices and discuss issues to become great leaders.
Stephanie German headshot

Stephanie German is a leadership coach and consultant, author, and adjunct professor. She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and loves giving back to her community in a variety of ways. When she’s not coaching clients or writing about leadership, Stephanie is usually headed to the mountains or the beach with her family, drinking savory wine, or working on the latest project with her husband. Stephanie’s greatest desires are to raise up the next generation of leaders while raising her own children to be strong, independent, and brave. She lives in Fresno, California with her husband Blake and her three spunky daughters, Cara, Kinsey, and Peyton. She is the best-selling author of So Your Boss Can’t Lead?

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