Working from home – so hot right now. Remote work is a huge shift for many of us. Finding your groove to live a thriving WFH life can be difficult, but rewarding. And we’re convinced that the skills you gain overcoming remote work challenges will take you further than you realize. The qualities and practices that make for WFH success are the same characteristics found in good, confident leaders. Here’s what we mean:
1. Proactive Communication
Intentional communication is key to becoming a good leader, just like it is to WFH success. You have to DO something in order to see momentum on a project or conflict. As a leader it can be tempting to fall back on your physical presence to connect with and support your team. The “leadership by walking around” style of yesteryear isn’t physically possible. Living the WFH life forces you to be proactive, put your problems on your to-do list, and reach out intentionally.
Tl;dr: Leaders obsess over healthy communication.
2. Measuring Work Through Results
Good leaders don’t measure performance based on hours punched on the clock, they measure success through results and outcomes. Studies have shown that productivity actually goes up for people working at home because they’re more focused on producing work than just “being” at work. There’s no virtual water cooler to stand around, and you don’t get credit for sitting at a desk unless you have something to show for it.
Tl;dr: Leaders gotta lead — not just show up.
3. Creating Boundaries
When we commute to work and back, we naturally shift our mindset into work mode. At home, you don’t have this physical act. You have to force yourself to turn off home distractions even though they’re staring you right in the face. (Seriously, toddlers like to stare and it’s uncomfortable). Finding your own rhythm for self-discipline isn’t easy. Figure out what boundaries allow you to kickstart your morning, structure some healthy breaks, and leave work behind at the end of the day.
Tl;dr: Leaders know boundaries are necessary for life and teams.
4. Knowing The Power of Routine…And When to Break It
Routine is not always king. Being self aware enough to recognize when you need more or less structure in order to meet the day’s goals – that’s the mark of a healthy leader. There are times when building up momentum and sticking with a process is key to getting things done. Then there’s moments when a change of scenery or a good laugh will go far in feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. As a leader, you realize your team needs both of these things too! Structure and consistency are critical to making your business run. But breaking the mold to do something fun for your team breathes life into the company culture.
Tl;dr: Leaders know what it takes to reboot themselves.
5. Having Confidence in Your Message
Often as a leader, you talk and no one listens. Well, it feels like people aren’t listening. And it can feel the same when you’re working from home. But good WFHers and leaders still project the same amount of confidence in their communication as they do in person. This can be tough. You’re not always getting the head nods and “amens” of affirmation that face-to-face interactions have. Working remotely teaches us to speak with purpose and believe in what you’re saying, even if the email you send gets crickets. This doesn’t mean they’re not hearing you.
Tl;dr: Minimal affirmation doesn’t mean you led poorly. Lead on.
6. Constant Communication and Feedback
Days can go by working remotely without connecting with team members who aren’t directly involved in your work. Teams can become more easily siloed and isolated. Successful remote workers go out of their way to touch base with other teammates. There’s still work to be done, but without the proverbial water cooler there isn’t going to be a time and place for you to casually build rapport and catch up. You have to make it. Working from home teaches you to be intentional and proactive about your communication. And doing this consistently as a leader encourages others in your company culture to do the same. It catches like wildfire.
Tl;dr: Socializing isn’t just a distraction from work. Often times it IS the work.
Stay Home to Get Ahead
Let’s Recap. Working from home forces us to develop certain skills that make for good leaders. For new WFHers, remember that the tough stuff is the good stuff. Step up to the challenge. Take the bull by the horns. You’ll find that once you can lead yourself, you are on the path to leading others. It can take a long time for this to feel natural. But as you become your own leader you’ll feel empowered to make your own momentum and get things done. Next stop…