How to Lead a Business While Working From Home

Working from home has proven a challenge for many people. Executives and leaders have a tough time in particular, as they must lead a business from a distance. Working with a remote team means losing out on nonverbal communication, having to take an individualized approach to management, taking care of your loved ones, dealing with internet drops, and the other aspects of living in lockdown. Here are some tips on how to lead a business while working from home.

1. Focus on Long-Term Goals

How much have you worked on your long-term goals in recent months? It’s understandable if you’ve been spending less time on them. It’s hard to focus on where you will be months or years from now when you aren’t even sure where you’ll be a week from now. Don’t neglect those long-term goals, however, as they are always important.

Talk to your workers about what your long-term plans are. If you want to move to be more environmentally-friendly, then discuss your options and get everyone on the same page. Talking to workers will also help assuage their fears over things like being furloughed or laid off and help them focus on their work too.

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2. Communicate Clearly

You’ll likely have communicated quickly and clearly with workers during the initial stages of pandemic response. Just because people are settling into their new routine and getting used to remote work doesn’t mean you can relax your communication efforts, however. This is the time to take things to the next level, particularly concerning setting expectations of workers.

It is vital that you set expectations on what tasks employees should do, who is responsible for these tasks, and when they should be done by. Create clear messaging and communicate on a range of channels so that everyone gets the same message at the same time.

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3. Set Ground Rules for Meetings

Another vital part of setting expectations is handling virtual meetings. You should have rules in place to prevent disruptions and unproductive meetings. It doesn’t matter how your team conducts virtual meetings, providing employees with some guidance helps them avoid incorrect assumptions about how they should use this time.

Employees should always be punctual and on-time to meetings. Arriving late to a virtual conference is as disruptive to the meeting as appearing late at an in-person one. Outside of that, you could ask employees always to be present on camera and to keep other browser windows on their computer closed to prevent distractions and multitasking.

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4. Don’t Neglect Company Culture

Being out of the office is no excuse to forget about company culture. If anything, working hard to preserve and promote company culture could be more critical at a time like this, considering that the major problem with remote work includes feelings of isolation and a lack of face-time with colleagues.

Use instant messaging platforms like Slack to prompt employees to communicate as they would in the office casually. Prompt them to do things like share tips, their current work-from-home setup, or something related to their personal life like photos of babies and pets.

Barely anyone expected what 2020 would bring for them. These strategies can help you make the most out of this uncertain situation and turn a crisis into an opportunity. Focus on long-term goals and keeping your team together. Find innovative ways to maintain company culture and plant the seeds for success with remote leadership.

Petra Cambell

Freelance graphic designer; I've been working from home since I left University 12 years ago.

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