Gratitude is Vital to Managing Remote Teams. Here’s Why.

Chester Elton

In the past year and a half, employees have gotten really good at working from home. Even though, some managers still find it challenging to inspire their teams when they don’t see them daily.

This week I had a chance to interview Robert Glazer, author of the new book,How to Thrive in the Virtual WorkplaceHe says part of managing remote employees is setting clear expectations and consistently tracking employee outcomes. Managers and leaders who regularly connect with their direct reports make them feel valued. Bob points to gratitude as key to connecting with our remote workforce and provides three easy steps.

  • Make Gratitude Focused on Accomplishments

With many organizations working remotely, employees can feel their colleagues or boss don’t notice their hard work. It’s more important now than ever to over-communicate. Consistently expressing gratitude, publicly and privately, helps address this pain point.

Bob says it’s crucial to show gratitude right away. The best leaders are fast to thank and credit others, and one of my favorite ways is to send a simple handwritten note of thanks. I guarantee this will make your team feel appreciated.

And for those employees who like to be publicly recognized, highlight someone who’s made an extra effort during a team huddle or on a group message board. Bob said, “When you’re sharing your team or department’s wins with your greater organization, take care to thank your team members by name who helped move the company forward (not just a generic ‘thanks to my team’).”

  • Check-In with Gratitude

Of course, you don’t need to reserve gratitude for big wins. Bob suggests regularly reaching out to others in your organization—colleagues, teammates, even your manager—and letting them know why you’re grateful to work with them. You don’t need a reason to tell the people you work with that you appreciate them. These small check-ins will strengthen the bonds within your team, especially while working from home.

An extra benefit of being grateful for your teammates is that it’s an excellent way to energize ourselves. We all face challenging days, weeks, and even months at work. Many of us have faced some of the most challenging work experiences of our lives in the past year. But when we can ground ourselves in gratitude for our colleagues, we will find it easier to keep pushing forward, even when things go wrong.

  • Create Gratitude Buffers

When working remotely, the lack of a commute can be a double-edged sword, says Bob. While no one likes sitting in traffic or cramming onto public transit, commuting helps us separate our work and home lives.

He suggests remote employees create a similar effect with a buffer at the beginning and end of the day. He said, “It’s helpful to start the day with a morning routine that helps you ease into the day, rather than jumping on your work email as soon as you get out of bed. And having a clear shutdown routine at the end of the day will help you transition out of work mode and into your home life”.

The consistent thread running through these buffers is to practice gratitude. Bob recommends starting a gratitude journal and writing down three to five things you are grateful for at the beginning and end of the workday. Not only will doing this help you signify when it is time to start and stop working, but it will also help you begin and end your day with a positive mindset, which is crucial for effective leadership.

Let’s face it, remote work is an adjustment, especially if you’re leading others. Building more gratitude into your life and leadership will help you thrive and inspire others.

Whether you’re planning a small executive retreat or searching for a dynamic keynote speaker for your annual conference, Chester Elton gives you a highly sought-after New York Times best-selling author and business strategist, who brings energy, substance, and real-world experience to your stage! One of today’s most influential voices in workplace trends, Chester Elton has spent two decades helping clients engage their employees to execute on strategy, vision, and values.
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