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Home office and leadership - 6 tips to apply instantly

Home office and leadership – 6 tips to apply instantly

Tim Lauenroth

Low contact, sometimes complete isolation from other employees, who can usually only be seen via the laptop’s camera. Employee motivation decreases because they no longer feel the sense of togetherness and team dynamics. This can happen if no measures are taken to optimize remote working. Mainly, this is a manager’s job to keep the team together, create a sense of community and stay in touch with each employee so that the team’s goals can be achieved from home. For the home office, other leadership competencies are needed that are less in demand in the office. Below are 6 leadership competencies that matter most in the home office.

1. Clear communication for a successful team

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment, in which great ideas can happen.”

– Simon Sinek, author and speaker

The most important factor in the home office is maintaining contact and dynamics within the team. Through digital products, we have a wide range of media that we can use for communication. Since employees can no longer see each other face-to-face, the manager’s job to maintain team cohesion and constant coordination of tasks. Employees want to talk more about personal matters in the home office than they do about professional ones.

The reason for this is that conversations with colleagues in the office no longer take place in between. A way for the team to deliberately not talk about professional topics, are weekly team meetings. Of course, contact and constant exchange and alignment on the professional side are also important.

One point is obvious: The dynamics within the team, the agreement of goals and tasks can only take place through clear and regular communication, especially in home office.

2. Strategy and vision

If the employees know the strategy and the vision of the company, you as a manager do not have to worry a lot about a lack of motivation of the employees. In Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model, he has defined three rings, each with one question. The importance of the questions decreases towards the outside.

Why?

The core and therefore the most important question is the “Why? This question defines the purpose or goal of the task or project. Why is this question the most important? It is essential for every person to know why he or she dedicates himself or herself to a task. If the employee knows why this task to be done by him is important, he feels responsible and thus an important part of the team.

How?

Second ring is the “How?”. How do you approach the defined goal? This lists the techniques and methods, how the tasks can be completed.

What?

The third circle is the “What?”. What do you do for it to solve the task? The tasks and processes to be worked on must be defined.

The core message of this Golden Circle, however, is that the question “Why?” is the most important one, when it comes to awakening employees’ passion for doing their jobs, especially in the home office. Managers who merely assign tasks (What?) without defining why and how they will be performed cannot expect employees to be highly motivated and have a positive attitude toward work in return.

3. Promotion and development

It is obvious that the promotion and development of employees is part of the manager’s job, even in the home office. Further training is beneficial both for the employee personally and for the company. In addition, trust in the manager is strengthened by the development of the employee. It is therefore important for managers to know about the individual needs, skills and goals of team members and to respond to them. Obviously, point 1 plays an important role here again – communication among each other.

4. Responsibility for the well-being of employees

What is the condition of the employee working from home? Are the necessary resources available that the employee needs to perform his or her job? What is the personal situation of each team member at home? The manager should be open to the employee’s wishes and suggestions and take them into account. Especially in stressful times at work, it is important for the whole team that each member has the best possible conditions to be able to perform at full capacity!

5. Trust in employees

Since home office, employees are largely on their own and do not have the familiar work environment around them. Work schedules vary between each employee. For managers, trust in their own team plays a key role at this point. Since the boss can no longer see whether the employee is sitting at his desk or taking a break, he must be able to rely on the employees. If trust is guaranteed and the manager knows that the employees are doing their job, he or she doesn’t even need to check, how long the employee is working.

6. It’s the result that counts, not the working hours

You might think that working from home has significantly increased the relevance of controlling working hours to check whether the employee is following his or her work or not. However, a study has shown that home office employees are more productive because they experience fewer distractions while working. Constantly controlling work hours only puts more pressure on employees. However, keeping track of work hours makes sense for employees in many ways. By documenting their workday, employees know exactly what task they worked on and during what time period. This makes it easier to separate work from personal life, and employees feel more freedom by clearly recording the tasks they worked on. 

Click here to go to a previous blog post where we explain in a more detailed way, why time tracking tools help companies as well as the employees.

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