The world, as we know it today, is not what it used to be a year ago. We’ve all transitioned from huge office workplaces to home offices. Managing your remote employees, ensuring all the tech is in place while getting things done – the struggle is real.

Managing your remote employees may be overwhelming at times, mostly because connecting face-to-face is not possible. Over time, this may develop into a significant disconnect between you and your employees.

Being a supportive and empathetic leader for your remote team may help. But how can you be supportive in a remote work environment? This has been a new change for most of us. Hence many are on the same ship.

If you are looking for some actionable tips that can help you be a more supportive leader and connect well with your remote employees, then this article is what you have been looking for.

1. Connect Frequently

Frequent communication and connection are, hands down, the most effective way to stay supportive, understanding your employees’ concerns, and increasing their productivity. As a leader, it is your responsibility to encourage an environment where frequent communication is the norm.

You should develop a culture where your employees do not think twice or hesitate to talk to you or their fellow employees, be it for personal or professional reasons. You can ensure this by setting up systems in place.

Some of the essential tools you should invest in include communication tools such as Slack, video conferencing tools like Zoom, and project management tools like Trello. You can also think about investing in other tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Time Doctor, CRM tool, etc.

Schedule daily check-ins and weekly/monthly connections with your employees. Let them know about the means of reaching out to you and your availability. Be proactive in your communication. Only then will your employees open up more.

2. Empower your Employees with the Right Tech Stack

Apart from encouraging frequent communication, you should also enable the right tools and software for ensuring smooth remote work. Empowering your employees with the right tools needed for communication and collaboration will increase employee satisfaction and productivity.

3. Organize Virtual Social Activities

Connecting socially in traditional office work is much easier than when your employees are working remotely. Hence, social activities such as team lunches, water cooler chats, coffee breaks, and happy hours are something that your remote employees are definitely missing out on.

To overcome this, you can organize the same activities virtually. The key here is planning ahead. No matter how hectic everyone’s work schedules are, make it a point to schedule one such activity each week.

Organizing such virtual social activities will help you connect with your remote team better. And, you’ll also see a tremendous improvement in their productivity. Having a supportive community is imperative for having a healthy remote workplace. Providing this through social activities is the best way to support your remote employees.

4. Promote Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance has been the most affected part of employee health after the world has gone remote in the post-COVID19 times. This is ironic when we think about it.

Remote work enables us to spend more time with our families. On the other hand, remote work can leave us with no boundaries between personal and professional life. Your employees may feel like they need to be available for work the whole day. This may leave them frustrated without having a proper work-life balance.

To combat this, you should promote work-life balance amongst your employees. You can do this by offering flexible work hours. You should connect with your employees, understand their workloads, and ensure that they are not overworked. Small gestures like these can take your company’s productivity and ROI through the roof.

5. Support Employees’ Emotional and Mental Well-Being

Remote work, lack of work-life balance, combined with the uncertainty around these challenging times, can put your employees in a dark place. They may feel mentally and emotionally exhausted. This, too, has an impact on your company’s overall growth. Being genuinely empathetic towards your employees should be your foremost priority.

You can start by regularly checking in on your employees, not on the professional front, but solely for establishing personal connections. Have a heart to heart talk and evaluate their current situation. You can even recommend your employees to virtual counseling sessions if they are not in a good place.

You should encourage physical well-being by educating them on ergonomics and holding fun contests that promote physical health. You can offer emotional and mental support by conducting discussions on stress management and sharing mental well-being resources.

You can also consider offering extended health benefits and support to your employees and their families. Even small good-will gestures like these can have a massive impact on your employees.

6. Open up More and Be Real

Lastly, be more real and authentic in front of your employees. Show them your real side and all the challenges you face. You are also equally affected by all that’s been happening around the world. And you, too, feel isolated and unproductive at times.

When you show your employees this side, they will connect and relate with you more. They’ll be more forgiving towards you and your company. Even if things get messed up, they will know that you, too, are in the same situation as them.

This will create a whole community of supportive people where everyone’s ready to have each others’ back, no matter what. This can be the best support you can offer to your remote employees.

Final Thoughts

Supporting your employees in whichever way possible should be your topmost priority. One of the things that this pandemic has taught us is that ultimately human relationships matter more than anything.

When you genuinely care and support your employees, they’ll be willing to support you 10x. That’s the best way to grow together as a company. So take help from this post and start implementing these tips right away!

(Featured Image: Freepik)