Some leaders love remote work. Some hate it.
Some think it's a terrible setting that takes control away and let's employees stay at home and be useless. Others find that remote work increases overall productivity and lowers the need to micromanage.
And both sides might be correct as remote work, like all other structures, work really well for some and make others crazy.
The only thing that we can say for certain is that telecommuting is increasingly popular and there are problems you need to face to make it work.
Trust the remote work and the remote worker.
The most important aspect of making remote work work (pun intended) is having a trusting relationship between employees and their manager.
David Horsager wrote „Among all the attributes of the greatest leaders of our time, one stands above the rest: They are all highly trusted.“
When it comes to trust, any sane person can agree that it helps team work better in any setting. But for remote teams it's a nonnegotiable necessity to keep everyone from going crazy.
People trust things that are clear and mistrust unclear uncertainties. So as a leader, to build trust, you need to make sure employees (and you yourself) know exactly what you expect from your telecommuters, what they must achieve and how their results are measured.
If employees understand all that, you must trust them to do it. Otherwise you'll spend your every waking moment wondering if any work gets done.
Not just random people working somewhere.
A big part of leading a team is making sure your team knows that they are a team. Remote workers often will feel left out, especially if some of the team work side-by-side day-to-day.
You'll need a team status reporting or communication tool that makes sure remote workers are kept in a loop. Be sure to maximize the effects of these tools and share both personal and professional successes with your remote employees.
You'll also need to communicate face-to-face.
As written in Entrepreneur, „Real face time increases trust and helps team members really bond with each other. If your team is spread around the world, getting together in the same physical space can be difficult, especially if there are a lot of people involved. Even if you’ve managed to make work run smoothly over online tools, nothing beats an actual, face-to-face conversation.
Trust comes from communication and talking, engagement comes from trust and everything else is just personalities. So if you're running a remote team or planning on running one, then remember: you need the right people.