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5 Tips to Effectively Lead a Work From Anywhere Workforce

woman working remotely

Summary: Overseeing remote and/or hybrid teams is a new way of working for most company leaders. Learn five tips to do it effectively, from a veteran leader of a Work From Anywhere workforce.

Technology has created a world in which we don’t need to go into work in order to actually get work done. This means that overseeing team members that work remote is a new reality for most leaders.

According to online employment marketplace Upwork Inc.’s Future of Workforce Pulse Report, it’s estimated that one in four Americans are working remotely in 2021. Before the pandemic, only 12.3% of Americans had the option to work fully remote, with 8.9% as a hybrid workplace option. Five years from now, those percentages are expected to double (22.9%, 14.6% respectively). Not only is this growth a significant shift for traditional workplace environments, it also is creating opportunity for teams to expand more easily, tapping into freelancers and fresh talent beyond historically limited, office-based geographic constraints. In other words, companies can likely grow faster and with more flexibility by making the jump to a Work From Anywhere approach. 

So the question becomes, how do you lay the foundation for creating an effective Work From Anywhere environment for your company? I share my insights into the benefits of working remotely in-depth with Matt Cabrey of the Growing Greater Podcast in an episode called “Virtual Assistance: Delegate Solutions.” Listen to it here.

How Work from Anywhere Can Work for You

At Delegate, we intentionally built our company to Work from Anywhere. We operate 100% virtually, with over 14 years of experience leading a national team of not-in-the-office employees.

During those 14 years, we’ve learned a lot. Below are five tips that we can share as you consider this new way of working.

1. Communication is Key

Effective Communication – People who oversee remote workers must be proactive communicators. This includes investing in technology that allows your team to remain connected to their work and their teammates. For example, we utilize tools like Skype and Zoom  so we are always face-to-face for our meetings. 

We require our teams to enable their video setting when joining every single meeting. This allows us to create a cohesive team environment, even though we are physically spread across the U.S. Tools like Slack and Google Groups allow teams to quickly communicate via chat. Our favorite tool Asana allows our team to simply run projects through streamlined communication.

2. Always be Goals-Focused

Set Clear and Attainable Goals for Work – In order to be successful, remote workers must operate as self-starters and will thrive with goals-focused direction that’s clearly communicated. Provide SMART metrics around the stated goals, Rocks and milestones for projects, offering clarity around how team members are contributing in relation to each goal. If your team is collectively working towards a shared goal, provide an online portal or hub like Ninety.io® where they can view the team’s overall progress against the goal and encourage one another. And remember, it’s always critical to provide context around how each person’s contribution fits into the overall company or team goal, no matter where their work is performed. [Editor’s note: This additional context can come from sharing your vision and upcoming goals for each quarter with your teams, reinforced with quarterly “State of the Company” meetings where leaders can provide the overall context of everything that's going on.]

3. Shift Team Value to Focus on Results-Based Work

Modify Leadership Techniques – Remote workers will not base their value in clocking in and out but in the results they are able to produce. Because of this value shift, they have the ability to develop their own scenarios to tackle the demands of their job. 

As employers, we must set them up for success with clear expectations around work, in conjunction with results-based goal setting plans. As leaders, we will need to evolve our value mindset to find new and creative ways to track employee engagement and productivity as a component of our bottom line. Great resources like Flexjobs can help you find team members that already have this mindset in place at the time of hire.

4. Processes are Critical

Processes Are the Differentiator – The more you can document repeatable tasks of the work your team is completing, the less room for errors or questions. Make it part of your team’s responsibility to consistently document steps complete with notes for any recurring work they do for clients or the company. 

This allows your team to easily hop in and cover one another without missing a beat. Having processes clearly laid out also reduces your daily oversight time. It also allows you to view pieces of your operation that can be potentially outsourced to a remote support team and off of your overwhelmed team’s plate. Tools like Ninety allow you to create templates for ongoing projects that recur each week/month, which can help everyone stay accountable to their contribution.

5. Create Accountability Structures

Explain Expectations and Communication Chain – As you lay out expectations for your remote workers, it’s also important to develop a communication check-in protocol and regularly reach out to them. This allows you to stay continually in sync on issues or priorities for their work that align with company objectives. 

Tools like Ninety.io can help you keep your remote team organized and rowing in the same direction with priorities and associated to-dos. We use Harvest to create accountability around how our team is spending their time. We also have a video training program that includes introductions to all of our key staff, their roles and ways to contact them. (The Accountability Chart in Ninety can also be used as a whole-company reference / resource.) Providing these details from the start can eliminate much of the confusion related to operational issues.

Want to Learn More? 

In a special edition of The Team Success Podcast, Shannon Waller and I take a more in-depth look at remote workers and the future of work, exploring how to think outside the box about your team-building needs and the role entrepreneurs can play in reimagining and designing a more flexible workforce. Listen to the episode here.

Action Steps

  • Be proactive communicators. This includes investing in technology that allows your team to remain connected to their work and their teammates.
  • Provide metrics around the stated goals and projects and clarity around how they are producing in relation to each goal.
  • Set people up for success with clear expectations around work, in conjunction with results-based goal setting plans.
  • Consistently document steps complete with notes for any recurring work they do for clients or the company.
  • Develop a communication check-in protocol and regularly reach out to them.

About the Author

As the leader of Delegate Solutions, Emily Morgan works tirelessly to help reshape the culture of the traditional workforce by providing professional flexible employment for her team while also providing entrepreneurs with strategic workforce options to help them grow more efficiently and effectively. An entrepreneur with an innate heart for supporting others, Emily speaks nationally on the topic of delegation, automation, remote workforces and flex work culture. 

She’s been featured in Forbes as a Top 50 Remote Employer, contributed articles to The Huffington Post, highlighted in the NY Times, Inc. Magazine, NBC News, CNBC and a frequent podcast guest. Emily is a Goldman Sachs 10kSB Alum and recent winner of the Philly Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Person of the Year award. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) and a proud EO Philly Member.

Delegate Solutions is a delegation company which offers premium-level virtual assistant services for entrepreneurs to help them find more freedom and increase their impact.

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Topics: Organizations

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