What’s the key to a JoyPowered remote employee? When I ask this question at a training, I get answers like “Communication,” “Clear expectations,” “Trust,” and “Strong relationships.” All great answers. And then I ask, “Are these any different from what any employee, regardless of in-office or remote status, requires?” A collective headshake indicating “No!” There is no secret to a JoyPowered remote employee. They have the same needs as any other employee; however, to lead a JoyPowered remote employee or team, intention and individualization are critical.
Things like communication, clear expectations, trust and strong relationships tend to happen organically with people in the office; at the very least, there are more opportunities to foster these in person. When an employee is remote, it takes extra effort to schedule a one-on-one video chat or an on-site visit, and it is harder to get to know someone on a personal level if you aren’t engaging in casual water cooler conversations. But if you are intentional about creating opportunities to interact, such as scheduling a time to eat lunch together virtually, such efforts will lead to your remote employees feeling more connected and more engaged, which in turn will lead to JoyPower (and outcomes like profitability and retention)!
As you exercise more intention, so too must you consider an individualized approach to the remote employee. It’s much easier to get to know a personal work style when you are encountering someone every day. Ask questions and take the time to learn how your remote employees prefer to work. What makes them JoyPowered? While email exchange might work well for one employee, another might feel very disconnected and need face-to-face exchanges over a platform such as iChat or Zoom. If your remote employee works in a different time zone, it’s important to take that into account when scheduling meetings.
And when a task comes across your desk and it should be delegated, don’t be tempted by convenience and just give it to the employee you run into on the way to the breakroom. Consider the task and then consider skills, energy, and time. Who has the best skill set or knowledge to complete the task? Who would be energized by the project? Would you be asking them to work in their strength zone? Where is this on your list of priorities? Where should it be on theirs? Do they have time? Answer these questions first; it might be that a remote employee is the best fit. And if you’re asking them to work in their strengths zone, they will be JoyPowered!
As the number of employees working remotely continues to increase, the basic needs of workers are not necessarily changing, but the importance of intention and individualization are becoming more critical than ever before. If your workforce is moving in the remote direction, you might benefit from Purple Ink’s training on Leading a Remote Team. I’d love to chat about it more – feel free to reach out to me.