Strategies for Leaders to Inspire Remote Teams 

Thursday October 27, 2016

The rise of millennials in the workforce has shifted a number of workplace expectations, one of the biggest now being flexibility. In fact, flexibility is the No. 1 reason millennials are attracted to a workplace. With technology making it more and more convenient to work from almost anywhere at any time, flexibility in the workplace is no longer seen as a “perk” or “reward,” but rather the new way of doing business. Global Workplace Analytics’ research notes that up to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce would like to telework at least part time, with 3.7 million employees currently working from home at least half the time.

Leaders who have always practiced the traditional methods of “eyeball management” – physically seeing employees at their desks, assuming productivity – may be unsure of how to alter their leadership style to work with a remote team, but management styles for in-house and remote employees are fairly similar, requiring just a few adjustments to ensure success.

Manage Results, Not Activity

Perhaps a manager’s biggest fear in allowing employees to work remote is the inability to assess whether mobile workers are actually working without a supervisor physically watching over them. As many managers can attest, just because you can see an employee at his or her desk, it does not necessarily mean they are productive.

Instead, managers should provide mentorship and guidance for employees, rather than overseeing their every move. It is important, then, to set clear expectations with employees from the start, so their results can be managed rather than their activity. In addition to relaying goals and expectations, providing deadlines and a timeline will ensure everyone is on the same page for what must be accomplished.

Maintain Collaboration

Although your remote team may consist of employees from different towns, states or even countries, it is important to keep everyone feeling like they are part of a team. Bringing employees together for meetings is important for collaboration, making decisions, staying updated on progress and coming up with new ideas.

If and when possible, in-person meetings are a great way to help keep that team culture and collaboration thriving. But, these days, there are a number of tools designed to bring everyone together virtually, such as video conferences, teleconferencing, web conferencing and more. In addition, tools are available to track projects, allowing every team member access to remain up-to-date on the progress of tasks. Creating online forums and other methods of team communication in between meetings will also help ensure consistent communication and collaboration.

Improve Communication Methods

Not only is communication essential among team members working remotely, it is also one of the most important aspects of managing that team. Keep defined work hours during which the leader is available for communication, and implement a variety of technological tools to keep remote communication simple and effective. Team members should be equipped with the right technology to ensure the software and programs used are compatible across all devices and appropriate access be granted to allow for sharing of necessary information, such as screen sharing or group document editing capabilities.

It is equally important for remote workers to have access to documents both digitally and in hard copy as necessary. To bring convenience to employees who may otherwise not have access to a printer in their remote workspace, Cartridge World has developed PrintWorld™, a mobile app that allows for on-the-go printing and scanning from Wi-fi-connected locations. Remote employees have the ability to access both digital and physical documents at their convenience from some of the most popular remote workplaces, such as a neighborhood coffee shop.

Powered by Samsung, PrintWorld™ provides more than 96 million mobile and remote workers around the world the ability to print and scan documents from a smartphone, tablet or laptop, making Cartidge World a strategic partner for remote workers and the business leaders looking to optimize and sustain efficient, productive and convenient operations.