How to Apply Emotional Intelligence in Remote and Hybrid Work Environments?


If you wouldn’t trust someone with basic car maintenance skills to fix the brakes on your car, or someone with only a Red Cross first aid certificate to perform open heart surgery, then how can you expect your employees to work effectively and confidently in a completely different environment without the necessary skills?

Incorporating emotional intelligence is essential to fostering a workplace where individuals not only possess the technical know-how but also understand and navigate the complexities of interpersonal dynamics, making them well-rounded and adaptable contributors to the team.

I am referring to the skills required to excel in remote and hybrid work.

In the current business landscape, remote and hybrid work has become a permanent option rather than just a temporary solution during the pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial to train employees to work effectively in these conditions. To excel in remote work, there are specific skills that individuals need to acquire. Interestingly, possessing Emotional Intelligence (EI) can make it easier to adapt to these skills.

Having Emotional Intelligence (EI) can make it easier for your teams to adapt to remote and hybrid work skills, enabling them to achieve their full potential while reducing the risk of burnout and anxiety. You can find more information on this topic here.

Outlined below is a set of skills that are crucial to performing well in remote and hybrid work, along with some exercises to help improve those skills. The good news is that when you possess EI, you are more likely to have the right mindset to adopt these skills more effortlessly.

Set of Skills :

Roberta and Nathan Sawatzky, a mother-son duo, had conducted interviews with employees working for “remote-first organizations” prior to the 2020 pandemic, to understand the skills required to excel at remote work. Among the eight skills they identified, we will focus on three of them in this discussion.

  • Effective communication

    An overwhelming majority of employees, 97%, believe that their daily task efficiency is influenced by communication. It may come as a surprise that communication barriers could cost businesses around $37 billion annually. Remote-first companies understand that clear, concise, and consistent communication is vital and they work twice as hard to achieve this as they lack the usual signals conveyed through face-to-face interactions. Remote workers are exceptional communicators. They carefully choose their language to ensure that their message is unambiguous.

    Additionally, they ensure that the message they send is understood by verifying its clarity. Moreover, they respect other people’s communication preferences, whether it’s email, Slack, or video conferencing, to avoid confusion and conflicts, which saves time.

  • Self-driven

    When it comes to self-driven, there are steps you can take to enhance this skill. In a remote work environment, where physical supervision is not possible, it is important for the work to be meaningful to the individual and focused on meeting the expectations of others.

    Remote-first companies measure productivity by the results achieved, rather than the number of hours spent at the desk. Without being accountable for results, it can be challenging to resist procrastination while working remotely.

    To improve self-driven, there are three actions you can take:
  1. Understand what motivates the person you manage :

    By understanding the core needs of the individuals you manage, you can adapt your approach and position their work in a way that is meaningful to them. Innovation Bubble has developed Neopic and Neo archetypes, which include four different archetypes with distinct needs, along with tools to help you support each member of your team based on their archetype.

  2. Assist them in comprehending the essential role they play in creating an impact on people, whether it’s other colleagues or customers :

    One way to increase self-motivation is to help team members understand the importance of their role and how it contributes to the company’s strategic objectives. This concept is often referred to as “line of sight.” When employees can see the impact of their work on the bigger picture, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged. For example, the famous story about a janitor at NASA who said he was helping to put a man on the moon illustrates the power of line of sight.

  3. Aim for clarity in defining the task at hand to effectively manage expectations:

    Frequently, tasks are ambiguous, leading to unnecessary disagreements. Adding some expectations on how you want the work delivered can help resolve this issue. If you’re the manager, use SMART objectives, and then ask your team member to break down the overall tasks into subtasks that they can monitor independently.
  • Critical thinking and curiosity

    Curiosity and critical thinking are crucial for success in a remote or hybrid work environment. According to the Harvard Business Review, 92% of people believe that curious individuals bring new ideas to teams and that curiosity is essential for job satisfaction, motivation, innovation, and high performance. However, only 24% of people reported feeling curious in their roles, and 70% reported facing barriers to asking more questions at work.

    To be successful in remote or hybrid work, you need to be resourceful, persistent, and self-sufficient, as working independently requires independence.

To encourage greater curiosity and welcome a curious approach, consider these actions:

  • Approach things as if they were an experiment.

    Emphasize that you are testing a hypothesis, and that the outcome is not definitive. Reiterate to yourself and others that the project can be terminated if it does not yield the intended results. By doing this, it reduces the anxiety around the possibility of failure.

  • Consider the potential risks and ensure that they are clearly understood and addressed from the beginning of any endeavor.

    Ensure that everyone involved can clearly identify the potential risks associated with your new ideas and emphasize the importance of being prepared to implement a Plan B in case things don’t go as planned.

  • Great techniques.

    Using techniques such as “what if,” “and then,” and “how true is it” can be incredibly useful for exploring different possibilities and gaining new insights.

  • Consider asking additional inquiries.

    Think about posing additional queries, such as: What is the exact nature of the issue? What is its source? Is there anyone who can assist me in overcoming this obstacle? Are there any tools or references available that could assist me in resolving this problem?

Thank you for reading. For more blogs like this, please follow our blogs at Odio.

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