As more and more companies transition to a virtual or hybrid environment, new opportunities are presenting themselves. However, managing teams in a remote environment comes with its own unique set of challenges. While some large organizations hope to have their people return to the office, many workers will remain fully remote. Therefore, leaders have to adapt and gain deeper knowledge of the best practices for coaching in a remote environment. Not only will this reduce overhead, but also ensure continued support for employees at all levels as they adapt to the new workplace dynamic.
5 Best Practices for Coaching in a Remote Environment
- Make sure you have the right equipment.
Working remotely is already hard enough. Not having the right equipment makes it even more difficult. Providing your team with the necessary monitors, webcams, and microphones will allow employees to communicate clearly and easily, no matter where they are. That’s why it’s so important to choose technology that suits your needs, not build your training and workflow around the existing software.
- Build trust through transparency.
The only way to successfully function in a remote environment is by establishing trust through transparency. So, you must establish open and honest communication loops at all management levels. People already feel disconnected, and they need ways to feel part of the larger scope of things. By discussing challenges and personal struggles you are coping with, you can better connect with people, even if you never share a physical work space.
- Foster a supportive environment.
Though you don’t see your remote agents on a daily basis, you can still find ways to check in every day. Reach out through individual chats, follow up on their questions, and keep an open door policy with virtual chat rooms. Encouraging communication helps foster a supportive environment. However, it’s key to be responsive and open to feedback as well. When people feel ignored, they are unlikely to make continued attempts or let you know when issues or problems arise.
- Don’t dictate communication mediums.
Digital tools can enhance the coaching experience. We have more ways than ever before to connect with people. On an average day, remote workers now rely on chat, email, conference calls, town halls, online forums, videos, and other mediums to communicate.
However, we all have our preferences. Since we already have these pathways, keep them open so agents can choose how to connect with you. Don’t limit the way people can reach out by dictating which medium to use. Instead, incorporate them all!
- Use it as an opportunity to transform the company culture.
It’s easy to become discouraged as the challenges keep coming. Although change can be difficult, it also allows you to build greater collaboration. You can find new ways to engage people in a remote or hybrid environment. With the right equipment and management team, you can replicate many of the social interactions of the brick-and-mortar environment.
It all comes down to the conversation. Talk about the struggles of working remotely. Ask for help when you need solutions. And, share strategies to overcome the disconnection and loneliness. The best practice for coaching in a remote environment is staying connected to your people.