Tips to Lead Organizational Change While Working Remotely

As a Leadership Excellence faculty member at the UMass Donahue Institute, over the course of the pandemic one of the most frequently asked questions I have been asked is, “how can I be an effective leader when my employees are remote?” It is no surprise why this is top of mind for many organizational leaders.

Being an effective leader pre-pandemic had its own set of challenges. From inspiring employees to work hard and do their best to achieve business goals, attracting high-caliber talent and keeping them, to creating new opportunities for innovation and organizational change, effective leaders have a big influence on an organization’s success.

Now add on top of it the added complexities and stressors from the covid-19 pandemic, and today’s leaders are faced with the unprecedented challenge of how to keep their employees motivated, connected, and focused during a time of isolation and uncertainty.

To help tackle these new leadership challenges, here are two tips to help today’s leaders be more successful with remote working:

Be Proactive:
People tend to isolate themselves during stressful organizational change. This is compounded 10-fold when everyone is working remotely and already therefore isolated.

As a Change Leader you should take extra time/focus to reach out to individuals on a regular basis to establish and maintain personal connections – focusing especially on individuals you know are having a hard time transitioning during this time of change.

Be Communicative:
Most of us tend to rely on email as the primary form of communication because of its convenience. During the pandemic, many of us adopted Zoom to connect and collaborate. Over time, Zoom became the go-to medium – causing overuse of the tool to the point that a new term, “Zoom Fatigue,” was coined to explain the worn out feeling of having to be “on” all the time during virtual meetings.

Due to the overuse of Zoom, it’s therefore even easier as a leader to rely on mass emails when communicating about organizational change. However, I do not recommend this.

To effectively communicate about a change, a leader should have face-to-face conversations when possible (or at least Zoom if this is the only option) – allowing for a two-way dialogue for employees to ask questions and be a part of the change to garner true commitment within the organization rather than compliance.


Interested in learning more? Click here to request more information about the Leadership Excellence Certificate. The next session begins this Fall on September 16, 2021.