5 Work From Home Tips for Team Leaders

Last week, I closed our office. Moving our team to full remote work, to help keep them and our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them were already well acquainted with remote working, but you may not be or not ready to work at home for a possible extended length of time.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to share some of our favorite working from home tips starting with my tips as a founder and CEO.

My favorite work-from-home tips as a founder and CEO

As leaders of organizations or teams, we need to be comfortable with remote working. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Trust your people

Everyone is accountable to the team, not just to me or to their boss. This is what drives them to perform.

Badgering your people is a recipe for resentful, low-performing employees. I recently read about a company that just didn’t trust its employees to stay productive while working from home. They had managers calling their staff every hour asking them what they were working on and making sure they were being productive.

I’m sorry, this is just insane. What a way to kill morale and productivity.

Instead – have daily “stand ups” (we use Google Hangouts). The meetings are short and after the first few, everyone is focused and prepared. Each team member answers three simple questions:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • Is there anything standing in your way?

And, if there is something standing in someone’s way, as leaders we can take action to remove the blockage immediately – so they can do their work.

Trust your people. They’ll be far more likely to do amazing work for you – remote or not.

2. Trust the process

As a founder and CEO, my job is to set a direction and to design processes that guide the work of my team. But even with my commitment to processes, it’s easy as a team leader to get impatient. I need to remind myself that no project produces results overnight. If I don’t, I jump in and try to “help” the team mid-project and unknowingly mess everything up.

Set the direction, design your processes – then get out of the way. Trust your people to do what you hired them to do.

3. Get outside

Weather permitting, I try to get outside for at least a few minutes every day. Before work, I check on our chickens (who of you would guess we have chickens), and the few trees we have tapped for maple syrup. I love being outside and it does wonders for my productivity when I get back to my computer.

4. Take 20

Spend 20 minutes in peace and quiet. Shut the door, turn off your devices, tv, computer and listen to the small sounds around you. It’s quite relaxing. I like to spend 20 minutes a day meditating – usually at the end of the day. It puts me in the right mental place to go to sleep and clear my head.

Not sure how to get started? There are hundreds of guided meditations for free on YouTube and on your phone’s app store.

5. Step away

It is so easy to work around the clock because you’re at home. Don’t do it! Set up barriers if you can – leave your mobile phone at your computer. Just make sure you are disconnecting. Your children may be around you now, spend time with them. They’re struggling with you being home but not able to give them your undivided attention. If you’re on a call and your kid(s) interrupt you, just make light of the situation, it’s happening to all of us.

6. Pro tip – Home workstation

If you can, set up your workstation where you don’t see it on your everyday travels through your home. Here’s mine if you’re wondering.

laptop with a second monitor on a wooden desk

Keep it simple and uncluttered. Don’t set up where there are a lot of distractions (people walking by inside, a TV, kitchen) and if you can near a window. Who doesn’t love some sunlight!

We’re all adapting to this new way of life for the time being, make the most of your remote working situation and don’t sweat the small things with your team.

In my next post, I’ll be focusing on tips for your staff.

Share your tips for remote working with us below.

Stay safe, stay healthy and practice social distancing.