The “digital nomad” was already on the rise over the past few years, but the recent health crisis has left many with no other option than to embrace the new remote work culture.
Regardless of whether you wanted to make the change or not, switching to remote work is a big adjustment for both employers and employees. Employees find remaining engaged with their companies extra challenging. On the other side, employers struggle with how to show their teams that they care for them, even while everyone is apart.
Businessolver administered a survey in 2019 that found that 82% of staff would consider leaving their current positions for a more empathic company. And more than three-quarters of those surveyed said they would be inclined to work longer hours if they knew their employer cared about them.
Demonstrating empathy and emotional intelligence is an important component of being a decent human being, but it’s also crucial for maximizing the efficiency of your business. Here are five strategies to become a more emotionally intelligent leader:
Don’t assume everything’s okay: When the only work interactions we have are on zoom, it’s easier for those who are struggling to hide typical signals of stress like changes in their body language. That makes it even more difficult for leaders to spot if their employees are having a hard time.
Emotionally intelligent leaders will have to make the extra effort to maintain open communication and strong relationships between themselves and their team.
Opt for screen time: It can be tempting to default to email as a means of communicating. You don’t need to accommodate other people’s schedules and you can compose emails or send voice notes from your bed whilst in your pj’s. However, video calling at least allows you to see the other person’s face, which makes people feel connected. Try to use video calls for any kind of in-depth conversation and limit email use for cut and dry information sharing.
Increase personal contact: Emotionally intelligent leaders will spend more time checking on their employees through regular video calls, but it’s also important that your team doesn’t feel micromanaged. Building deeper connections with staff is facilitated by allowing yourself to become vulnerable as well. Try to be transparent with your own struggles and perhaps your staff will feel more inclined to open up.
Set up supportive networks: Even though everyone may struggle with remote work, not everyone will have the same struggles. Try to pay attention to the particular hurdles your staff is going through, whether it be child-rearing and home-schooling, or accommodating elderly parents or grandparents in the household. Having this information can help you connect people in similar circumstances so that they don’t feel alone.
Host virtual celebrations: Even though we can’t have gatherings with everyone to celebrate birthdays, or meet up for a drink after work, leaders can still make opportunities to celebrate team accomplishments or life milestones. Ask your team for suggestions on how you can encourage team-bonding or send out fun memorabilia like matching T-shirts, or coffee mugs that you can sip from during zoom calls.