We’ve been a 100% remote organization since way before it was cool with a collective 11 years of flexing our remote workforce muscles.
We’ve written countless blogs on the beauty of working remotely, alone and with a team, as well as the benefits to your personal and professional lives.
Suffice it to say that we know what it takes to build – and maintain – a powerful remote workforce and culture.
We also know that it’s entirely possible by implementing a variety of approaches within your company. But arguably one of the most important things you can do is to become the best leader you can be to your remote team.
Here are five essential, non-negotiable elements:
Lead with Trust
Trust is something that, if cultivated and nurtured properly, can change the course of your business.
In fact, trust and just about every other mission-critical element of your business’ success are mutually inclusive; they simply cannot exist without trust.
Remote teams are built squarely on a foundation of trust. A bonus of this is that there is a snowball effect when you create an atmosphere of trust. When employees feel trusted, the feeling spills over into their relationships with contractors, vendors and customers.
Further, employees begin to assume the best in others, too.
Listen & Ask Questions
Without in-person contact and its inherent physical cues, you miss important clues.
Listening is at the core of emotional intelligence, and great listeners also ask questions. Actively asking questions not only helps you better understand your virtual employees, but makes them feel more valued, too.
In a remote workplace, more time and energy must be dedicated to drawing people’s feelings out to prevent detachment, frustration or resentment.
Having regular contact with your employees — even if it’s via Zoom or FaceTime — will provide an opportunity to regularly connect and dig deeper.
Celebrate Each Other
Not every accomplishment on this journey will warrant a full-blown Disney-like parade with dancers in poofy skirts and twirling batons. (Although we wouldn’t object.)
Thankfully, a simple ‘great job!’ can go a long way in motivating your team. Similarly, never underestimate the power and impact of manners. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ still go a long, long way, too.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention those times — may they be few and far between — when things don’t quite go as expected. It happens.
Luckily, mistakes are diamond-in-the-rough opportunities to continue building trust through open, honest communication and repeated efforts.
Communication is key in the success of any relationship. We encourage weekly meetings between our clients and contractors — especially in the beginning. Another added benefit to regular, face-to-face conversations, is that it helps to fuel your partnership and often opens up more space for collaboration and brainstorming.
Some may prefer more video conferencing while others may prefer written communication — and recognizing those individual preference will go a long way to let them know you care.
The good news is leading a remote team isn’t rocket science, and you have what it takes.
Remote work culture refers to the shared values, behaviors and beliefs that unify a geographically diverse team and guide them towards common goals.
The physical space separating virtual team members can easily manifest as emotional and interpersonal distance as well. Because of this, leaders of remote workforces must be even more committed to establishing and cultivating a robust culture.
Leaders are the first domino in fostering a healthy company culture — even remotely. Fostering relationships with your current employees and making where they work a wonderful place for them to work will often turn your rockstar team into a team that is in it for the long haul.
Because culture isn't something that you can see, taste, touch, or smell; it is the only environment that you can feel. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you dread going to work or the excitement you feel when you’re actually eager to go to work.
Without being encumbered by having to go to an office every day, at BELAY we really, truly have fun working together.
And our vibrant culture is what makes it possible. It’s inextricably linked to our vision with no margin for ‘kinda sorta’ cultural commitments; you’ve got to be “all in” in order to lay the foundation for our remote workforce culture to thrive, regardless of zip, area or even country code.
When your employees trust you and you build comradery and a strong, healthy work environment, your business begins to bloom. Your company culture plays a big part in building a strong, unified and cohesive remote workforce.
Want to know more about how to cultivate culture in a remote workforce? We have a resource for that.
Interested in diving into the logistics of working from home? We have a resource for that, too!