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How CEOs Can Help Their Newly Remote Teams Survive the Next Few Months

Your team took the COVID-19 lockdown the best they could. They went home, stayed home, and adapted to the circumstances. There’s a fear of being let go and a sense of solidarity that has somehow been playing in your favor, but that’s not enough for a remote CEO. You want your newly remote team to be at 100% and, more than anything, you want your team to be sustainable.

Now, we’re back from vacation and ready to kick off a new year. What can you do to make sure your team will survive the year?

The Remote CEO Is in a New and Unknown Territory with Their Team

As a remote CEO, what you knew up to now isn’t enough. You were so focused on the company that you might not have realized that things have really changed in your team. Cracks have started to appear.

Talk to team members in different positions, send out a survey, and feel the real pulse of the company – not just the one you imagine or expect. You’ll be surprised. The sooner you realize that you need to adopt a new way of working with your team, the better things will go.

To put it simply, what you took for granted is no longer there. What is obvious for you, in terms of accountability, proper communication, and identifying with the goals of the company, will disappear unless you take immediate action.

 CEO and team working together remotely

What Remote Work Is Not and How to Turn It Around

It’s time for you to show your team members that things are no longer the same and that your company will accompany them through this change. From now on, you’ll need to look at every little step you take and make each decision regarding your team a very conscious one. 

Let’s go a little further into detail with some ideas.

 

1. Look for allies

Look for people in your company with excellent communication and emotional intelligence skills. These are the most valuable skills during times of change and uncertainty. 

How can you spot them? Look for people who:

  • Respond rather than react.
  • Are authentic, show their real selves, and are able to speak with honesty and transparency. These will connect more with the rest.
  • Maintain control over their emotions. As David Goleman says, they “can sustain safe, fair environments.”
  • Tend to look at the whole picture. They’ll be able to guide others during these remote work times.

With them, and with human resources, create a team that will design, activate, and maintain the boat that will help your company survive the storm – and become more powerful afterward.

Why create a parallel team? Why not leave it all to HR? Isn’t that their job?

HR has the sensibility and some tools to help build these strategies, but you need a transversal team to make change happen. Information needs to be flowing in all directions in order to make sure no person or department is left behind.

 

2. Team leaders are the key to success

Raise awareness in your team leaders. Help them understand that their responsibilities have been amplified. Now, they need to offer their team extra care, but they’re not alone. 

You can help them with these new tasks by:

  • Providing them with processes to keep closer feedback loops with their teams.
  • Giving them meeting structures. When working remotely, meetings don’t happen as organically as we’re used to in the office. Show your team leaders how to fish for the right information.

Helping them improve their communication skills, especially active listening. They’ll need these now, more than ever, to feel the real pulse of the team and to connect with others.

 

3. Make the changes your team needs

Design and implement changes. We no longer want people to wonder, “Am I working from home or living in the office?” We don’t want people to stop being polite when they communicate via email. We don’t want team members to feel like robots that are simply executing orders and, therefore, lose all motivation. Your company needs a 360º tweak. If your company culture was already good, you’ll be fine. You’ll just need to make a few changes and maintain them. Our advice? Start today; don’t delay it. 

Keep in mind that the most common problems with remote teams are:

  • Overwork and a bad work-life imbalance, which can lead to emotional problems as well as physical issues.
  • A lack of communication, which can lead to misunderstandings and can cost you a lot of money.
  • A lack of connection with the team, which can lead to a loss in purpose and a loss of motivation.
  • A loss of trust or, even worse, new team members that never feel trusted!
  • Boredom. Not because there isn’t enough work, but because there’s no motivation to do it: no social interaction, no sense of mastery or purpose, no recognition, etc.
  • No sense of belonging and a loss of company culture.

Keep these in mind and start building your strategy. We’re preparing an extensive guide for CEOs of newly remote companies. Stay tuned. Follow us to receive these materials. 

Whether you decide to stay remote or not, if you follow these initial steps, you’ll be on your way to building a stronger team. If you want to avoid making mistakes during this process, please contact us and we’ll guide you to help you avoid frustrations in your team.

 

PALNIAs a remote first team, we struggled with systems and culture as we began to grow.  Anna and her team swept in, and got us all shaped up and ticking as a solid team in a short time frame.  She led, rather than dictated the process, so the solution was custom, clean, and just feels right.  Our team is global, 100% remote, and yet feels like home for all of us.  I highly recommend MVT to any CEO, manager, or HR person who wants to build a remote team, the right way, and for success.
Debra Fleenor, CEO - Adapex