A study(1) of 1,153 employees who work remotely at times, revealed that many report poor workplace relationships and find it challenging working with and through others.

A key finding was “a lack of close contact with people inhibits the formation of trust, connection and mutual purpose.”

Other research shows that, on the plus side, people find remote working motivating and productivity rises: but, at the same time, remote workers feel isolated and disconnected. Feelings of isolation (2)  seem to modify personality, so a person becomes less approachable.

There are three key areas that require regular and conscious effort to avoid these problems and get the best out of remote workers.

Create team spirit

This goes beyond team-building events to a wide range of communication initiatives, and regular get togethers.

Keep people on track and empower them to innovate

Reset vision, and key strategic goals. Make sure everyone is clear what great looks like.

Maintain relationships

The more frequently you check in with people, the easier it is to find out how they are really doing.

Strategic leaders and team leaders need to act now to adapt their leadership approaches to prevent the negative effects of remote working and achieve the productivity gains.

Sign up now for our online courses on Leading Virtual Teams and Making Virtual Working Effective. For just £50 plus VAT per person and approximately six hours of guided exercises with tips and ideas.

(1) A Manifesto for Change: A Modern Workplace for a Flexible Workforce. Deloitte and Timewise 

(2)  Professor Sigal Barsade of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, a US expert in organizational behaviour quoted in Axworthy, J. (2020). Is tech making you lonely at work? Raconteur, 7th April. Available at https://www.raconteur.net/business-innovation/tech-workplace-loneliness.

©Janice Caplan 2020