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Henley Leadership Group Blog

Three Easy Ways To Better Support Your Remote Team

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Research shows that 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, with 46% planning to make a major pivot or career transition. What can you do to keep your team and your talent? Here are Three Tips to ensure you keep your talent on your side.

Tip #1 - Communicate Your Future Plans 

First and foremost, communicate your plans — and soon! Most executives seem to be holding off on announcing sweeping plans and detailed timelines to bring people back. According to a recent McKinsey survey, 40% of employees claim their organizations have not announced their future workplace policies, and another 28 percent say their companies’ policies are vague. 

The big idea during change and upheaval is to communicate, communicate, communicate, and yet that’s the opposite of what’s happening here. This is not good. People need to know. They need to be able to plan their lives and next steps. As the McKinsey survey revealed, this indecision is leading to greater levels of disengagement, anxiety and burnout. 

Trust me — you don’t want your team to be anxious about their future. They will start making plans to reduce their anxiety. And you will lose talent, whether they leave or stay. Employees who feel included in more detailed communication are nearly five times more likely to report increased productivity. 

One company that’s getting ahead of this issue is Dropbox, which announced a “virtual first” strategy for its 3,000 employees. As part of the strategy, they’re eliminating personal desks and office space, instead offering a stipend to employees to create or rent remote working space. Their current leased office space will be repurposed as “design studios” — rooms that are entirely floor-to-ceiling white boards, large conference rooms and small conference rooms. It will be an entire space with multiple collaboration spaces in it for team building, strategic planning, leadership development and innovation conversations. 

The latest research shows that 50% of employees are intending to continue some kind of work from home or hybrid working arrangement, in part due to the myriad of lifestyle changes that transpired over the past year — kids still learning from home, new pets, employees relocating to less populated neighborhoods. That means you have to provide your team with the tools they need to be successful working from home, or working from anywhere.

 Tip #2 – Provide Your Team with Proper WFH Office Stuff 

Let’s start with the basics. Make sure they have a desk, a comfortable office chair, a good monitor, keyboard, printer and office supplies. I spoke to one of my clients whose employer is not paying for standard office supplies, like printer paper and ink cartridges. This is outrageous. Do the right thing. 

Tip #3 - Make Connecting Easier

Just as important, you need to make it easy for your team to connect with one another. Team members have to be connected in order to collaborate and work effectively together. As Robert Glazer writes in his book How to Thrive in the Virtual Workplace, “If flexibility is becoming an increasingly desirable workplace trait, flexible and remote work is the best way to meet that need in a sustainable way.”

The good news is that creative people have been building out all kinds of solutions to make it easier to connect and stay connected for teams. At HLG, we use Zoom, Slack and Miro as a team and have found these tools to support us in collaboration. Remo is a video sharing app that allows team members to see one another while working during the day, much as you would if you were in an office together. Loom, BombBomb, Marco Polo and Vidyard are asynchronous video platforms that allow you to send a video of you at any time night or day for those teams not in the same time zones that still need to get the heart of a message delivered clearly. The great thing about video is that your message is less likely to be misunderstood than it might with email. More tools will surely be on the horizon.

Being a leader wasn’t easy before the pandemic, and it’s only gotten more challenging. But kicking the can down the road doesn’t make it any easier — and you just might lose some of your best people in the meantime. Communicate clearly and continually, support your team in being successful no matter where they’re working and help them stay connected. In return, you will be rewarded with a team that wants to work with and for you.

Previously published on Forbes