Effective Leadership at a Distance
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Checklist to Run a Virtual Workplace
With work facilities temporarily closed due to COVID-19, business leaders worldwide scramble to manage dispersed employees from a distance. As the collective market struggles to reassemble itself with varying success, part of your competitive edge lies in the ability to lead and organize team efforts around a new virtual structure. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed in this department, you’re not alone. We know it can be difficult to get organized, so here’s a quick checklist that will help you conduct Effective Leadership at a Distance:
❏ Set up a virtual focal point
If your workplace is normally focused at an office or other physical location, you may find it hard to keep all moving parts in place. Between emails, text messages, Google docs and Zoom calls, important notes and materials may get disorganized, forgotten or missed altogether. To avoid delays and mishaps caused by disjointed communication and misplaced work files, determine a single focal point that functions as your company’s virtual office. Luckily, there are many free and up-gradable options depending on your team size and needs. The following list is for information only -- we are not endorsing any particular platform and do not receive any compensation should you choose to purchase or use one of them:
You can still use Zoom, Google docs, Dropbox, WeTransfer or whatever means you normally prefer---a co-working platform is just your focal point where all other communication and links can be gathered, allowing for more seamless and transparent team collaboration.
❏ Streamline your meetings
Just like a virtual office space will enable smooth operations, everyone will benefit from a streamlined meeting process. Try to agree on a single software everyone can use, whether you prefer Zoom, Skype, Cisco or another application for your team’s conference calls. While your need for meetings will naturally vary, you may still want to consider having a regular weekly, bi-weekly or even daily check-in meeting on the books. Not only will regular check-ins promote efficiency and straighten out kinks; it will also help strengthen team spirit and structure.
❏ Make sure everyone gets it
A small team with full-time employees might be easier to coordinate than independent contractors who have several other commitments. People who work on multiple projects at once can often be overwhelmed, and plain old human fallibility can cause some emails to be forgotten, displaced or even deleted. Regardless of company situation and team size, double-checking all communication is a precaution that will save everyone both time and frustration. If you want to maintain glitch-free operations for your business, stick to the notion “review, repeat and reinforce” to ensure all employees are constantly in tune and aligned with team goals.
❏ Be there for your employees
The most effective planning system in the world won’t help if you aren’t available when your employees need you. This is especially true during a crisis such as COVID-19; where some may face related challenges such as heightened anxiety, reduced household income, family emergencies or other personal circumstances compromising normal professional capacity.
Instead of berating your employees for poor performance and waiting for them to tell you the problem, check in once in a while and let them know you’re there to help. While unforgiving bosses may operate under the notion that employees should make their life easier, great leaders realize it’s actually a two-way street!
❏ Show that you’re on top of things
A quick way to dissolve any team is mistrust in its leadership. One way to prevent such feelings from flourishing among employees, is keeping them informed of things that concern their present and future work conditions. How are you handling the current situation? Better yet, how would you handle a potential crisis in the future? Keep in mind that people don’t always freely speak their mind, and by the time they finally do, they may already be deeply dissatisfied with your handling of things. Besides sharing your reasoning and plans with those concerned in a timely manner, don’t forget to also ask what they think you can do better!
❏ Prioritize employee well-being
Work isn’t just about ticking off a to-do list all day. Employee health is the foundation for optimal productivity, and ensuring the well-being of each team member is one of the best leadership habits you can adopt right now. While your small business may have limited financial resources to spare, there’s still plenty you can do for your employees’ well-being at zero cost. Simple things like better time management, scheduled breaks and encouraging self-care off work can go a long way, without putting a strain on your business budget. It can be hard to maintain your cool with everything going on, but do your best to avoid irritated emails, excessive performance pressure, and other causes for workplace distress and negativity. After all, a happy team benefits your dream!
That’s it for now, ladies! We hope you found a few gems in this article to help you navigate these extraordinary circumstances. If you have thoughts, ideas or concerns about this or anything under the moon, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org In the meantime, stay safe and productive!