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5 Tips for Leaders to Successfully Manage a Remote Workforce

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

C-Suite Management Consultant at Tracey English Communications Inc.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably shifted our world with nearly all employees working remotely for everyone’s health and safety. How can top leaders ensure their employees are still engaged and productive remotely while building strong teams? Here are 5 easy tips to help you navigate this new world of work:


Be empathetic and understanding of the struggles and challenges of people personally and professionally. By setting a supportive and empathetic tone from the top, you will reinforce your company’s values and expected behaviors of all employees, as well as foster trust.

Embrace change, always

Keeping your environment open to change will make it easier for everyone to continually adapt to customers’ changing needs and for the business to grow. Change feels strange and uncomfortable, but the faster you accept it, the easier it will be the next time. Which could be in five minutes. Remember: The status quo means staying the same. When you change, you innovate.

Encourage open and honest feedback

This is the only way to build productive, positive teams. It is critical that every team member feels empowered to freely address issues without fear of retaliation by their managers. Managers should be trained to provide feedback that improves their employees’ capabilities rather than shut them down.

Empower everyone

Micromanaging, as a rule, is ineffective and will backfire on you. It is proven to be harmful to employees remotely, just as much as it is in-person. It is critical that every team member feels valued and trusted in their jobs. It is demotivating when they don’t feel it. When you show you trust them, they will perform well and will be motivated to do more.

Evaluate skills and retrain

Relationship-building is an ongoing process, and employees working remotely may not speak up when they need help or are unsure about how they align with their work. Clear, concise, and constant communication will ensure employees understand the expectations and goals, as well as feel confident in their work. Check-in with teams to ensure the right skills are in the right place. And if someone is struggling, perhaps he or she was not trained properly. Support ongoing training and retraining to help employees adapt to the constantly changing ways of working and doing business during and after our pandemic times.

As you can see, fostering trust and reinforcing an open-communication are threaded throughout these 5 tips that are critical to successfully managing a remote workforce in the long-run. By embracing change now, you will benefit in the future when other unexpected disruptors occur.

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