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Leading from A Distance: How to Stay Connected with your Hybrid Workforce

graphic of man staring at group call screens


Until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees in Australia out of workplaces, the ability to stay connected was something we took for granted. Remote work was considered an exception, or even a luxury, rather than the rule.

Communication is hard. Hybrid communication is harder.Most management strategies still centred around ‘in-person’ management style, with regular personal contact with employees. However, the new ‘hybrid’ workforce has no doubt massively impacted your life and the lives of your people, and you now need to stay connected and lead from a distance.

To help you navigate the new hybrid reality, we’ve put together a series of tips on how to lead remote and hybrid teams. This month we will focus on the importance of presence.

Being Present Is More Than Just Paying Attention

Presence is a combination of your attention and who you are at the core of your being. It creates an emotional and intellectual connection with those around you. Presence is important because it is a key way to build motivation and trust.

So how can you show your team you are being present?

1. Listen, Really Listen

When you are on a video call, it’s much easier to get distracted—even briefly—by an email alert or other pop-up. So turn these off!

2. Make Eye Contact

On most video calls, all anyone can see is your head. This means making eye contact is especially crucial—and yet many of us fail at it without knowing! To make ‘direct’ eye contact with someone on the other end of a video call, you want your eyes to be focused on your computer or phone’s camera when you are speaking. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it makes a big impact. If you aren’t speaking, it’s ok to look at their faces rather than the camera.

3. Share Challenges

The ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately and to truly empathise with the challenges you and your team are facing is key to building trust. Take the time to be curious for a little bit longer and try and put yourself in their shoes as they share their challengers. Hold off on judgment as long as you can so you guide your team through these challenging times.

Next Month: How To Build An Inclusive Hybrid Workforce

Next month we will focus on how to build an inclusive hybrid workplace, so stay tuned.

And lastly, Ariel Group Australia offers a range of leadership courses including our very popular Virtual Presence course to help you build relationships and stay connected with people in a virtual context.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Ariel Group team to find out more or discuss how we can help.

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Virtual Presence Guide: How to Help Virtual Teams Create Authentic Connections

Download this guide to discover tips and best practices to help your teams be productive and engaged when working virtually.

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