The key to remote work is self-management and teamwork

Many people continue to work remotely – some rejoice, some are sad. But how to get out of the situation victoriously?

The only permanent thing we have seen in remote work is constant change. Be it the prevailing corona situation with its constraints, the personal need to adapt to the circumstances, learn new things or the macroeconomy with rising prices, supply difficulties and climate requirements, which in turn requires companies and leaders to react quickly.

As we increasingly need to understand the suitability of leading and / or working when interviewing candidates, I decided to shed light on the subject from the perspective of both the leaders and the employee. What are your expectations and wishes? Is this way of working for everyone?

The role of the leader in creating team spirit

Certainly, the past years have been very difficult for many leaders. How to motivate your team and at the same time be aware of their activities without seeming too controlling? I found a good and up-to-date ideas on these questions from Kevin Roberts:

  • Get in touch to find out how your team members feel.
  • Talk about difficult things – honestly and empathetically.
  • Trust your colleagues.
  • Drive, guide or direct – do not control.
  • Be there now. Be confident. Be understandable.
  • Listen actively – don’t interfere.
  • Be curious – ask questions.
  • Focus on the things that are achievable. Manage the inevitable. Avoid the unmanageable.
  • Be calm and reflect optimism.
  • End the contact in a pleasant and friendly tone.

It has become a new tradition in many teams to talk to each other every few weeks or once a month about things that have failed. It’s a good opportunity to create an open atmosphere, bring the team together and support each other, also think about how to do it differently next time. I recommend you try!

Employee’s expectations of remote work policy

When conducting the headhuntings and talking to candidates starting in the new team, the following expectations and wishes have been expressed:

  • Agreed principles for the management of the remote work in a team. It is important that people are available during the agreed working hours.
  • Established information channels for the transmission of various information. Which information channel is used to exchange which information (Teams, Groups, Chat, emails, calls, etc.).
  • 1: 1 meetings with the leader to talk through the focuses, successes of the week and get feedback.
  • At least one team meeting once a week to set focus topics and share key news.

Physical meetings could be scheduled at least once a month if the situation allows. These can be so-called socialization meetings to keep in touch and cultivate team spirit. Even if the work seems to be running smoothly and does not need to be regulated in any way, the policy or principles should be clearly articulated. This is especially important and necessary when a new colleague joins – he / she understands expectations more clearly, feels safer in the new job and settles in faster. It is also a good input for headhunting – we can introduce different forms of work in the company to the candidates, which in turn simplifies recruitment.

Workjoy of successful self-management

Working remotely greatly depends on the trust and mutual agreements between the employer and the employee – greater freedom also entails a degree of responsibility. The form of remote work is not suitable for everyone, so teams need to discuss the extent and form of work outside the office with their leader. Remote work requires good self-management skills from both the leader and the employee.

How to motivate and manage yourself? I ended up watching a video that talks about very simple things that help to keep you focused and avoid the routine:

  • Start the day as if you were going to the office and follow a so-called workday routine. Dress accordingly.
  • Create an office-like space in your home.
  • The working day may differ from working at home vs. working in the office. Take a break. Communicate with colleagues.
  • Try to work at the same times as when you are in the office.
  • If possible, change your place of work – for instance, in the case of creative tasks this is especially important.
  • Move and exercise. Take fresh air breaks.
  • If necessary, use time planning apps: Promodoro timer or Deep Work, etc.

Another key factor is openness and team spirit. As it emerged from the interviews with the candidates, certain agreements governing remote work are very important – on which principle basis is the remote work organized in the team. As a leader, it is important to notice when a colleague becomes tired or overworked. Before immersing in the topics of the meeting, take a moment to find out how your colleagues are doing. To do this, you can give examples of recent bottlenecks in your work to encourage openness and humanity. In short, create and ensure a trusting atmosphere.

I also recommend you to use the time that you don’t spend commuting to work wisely. Start the morning with a nice walk or a new hobby. If you find balance in yourself, you will also find it better at work – whether it is remote work or not.