For the last few months, I’ve been enjoying the creative process of bringing my focus on remote work out into the wider world via the Remote Pathways Podcast. If you haven’t stopped by for a listen, please do! You can listen in here.
In the Remote Pathways Podcast we explore the people, places and practices of remote work today. The podcast spans the ecosystem of remote work, which I bring to life via the Digital Dozen™, twelve different types of remote workers. From those who are attached to, and lead, larger corporate teams in the business sector, to solopreneurs, those who Work From Anywhere, mobile Sales Professionals, as well as project managers who lead global teams. Remote work has never been so diverse.
Regardless of the differences to the type of work we do, most of us experience similar challenges. I say this with confidence, as over the last three decades I have worn many of the different hats in inhabiting a variety of roles in working the remote, mobile and virtual space.
Today’s blog post explores eight differences when working in the remote space. Consider how these impact you:
Autonomy - The paradigm of leadership when managing a remote team needs to change from an older model of control and micro-management, to one which empowers and coaches. With team members potentially multiple time zones away, and sometimes a lengthy plane ride, as leaders we need to shift our role to one of liaison, trouble-shooter and empowerer. Our team members are the ones “on the ground” with the expertise we will never have in our parachute meetings with them. What are you doing to shift the way you lead and empower your team?
Skills - Related to the shift in formal leadership, remote teams benefit when an emphasis is placed on building and equipping all team members with skills in leadership, teamwork etc. everyone on a remote team will benefit from skills in communication, decision making, prioritization, not just the formal leader. What are you doing to equip all your team members with skills?
Connections with others - I recently hosted a community call I entitled “No person is an island”. In Effective Virtual Conversations, I started writing about the importance of remote workers being intentional in exploring what their connections are with others. In a team-based context, the work I am doing, or not, may have a significant impact on a team member half a world away.
With this in mind, it’s important that team members do get a regular opportunity to spend time with each other – formally in meetings and possibly informally in virtual co-working sessions. Building in processes in meetings and systems to help team members see the connection between their work, boosts productivity and engagement.
What are you doing to create formal and informal virtual work events to connect and collaborate?
The Matrix - In a remote work situation it’s likely that team members may be part of multiple teams. This has implications around being very clear around roles, goals and priorities, as well as making sure that team culture is strong. If I am a member of the Toronto team, and also a special projects team, am I clear about the differences in team culture, and priorities? Spending time as a remote team clarifying how you want to work together is an essential part of high performance. I share more about this in part 3 of Effective Virtual Conversations.
There are many other differences which exist from motivation, and inner drive, to relationship building and visibility. I’ll be sure to address some of these other important distinctions in tomorrow’s post.
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