Covid-19 has disrupted life in every corner of the globe and in most countries people’s lives have been reduced to remote working, and remote education. Although remote working can work very well, when it has been planned and then implemented. But the pandemic didn’t allow for that to happen. People started working remotely out of panic and this has been difficult for many people.
Although in an ideal world, companies would have already trained their staffs for an emergency like this and who have already established clear remote work policies. But that is often not the case, most people had no remote working plan. However, this isn’t that big of a problems. Team leads and managers can put their heads together to streamline the process.
Here are 7 ways to successfully manage remote teams:
Avail the Advantage of Technology
It is your responsibility as a manager to keep your team connected. Communication applications are an easy way to keep everyone informed. Though email and text messages can be sufficient in the short term, resources such as Slack or Microsoft Teams are much better suited for collaboration and communication. Some of these collaboration tools are also free right now.
Communicate and Checkup Daily on Employees
This should be done one-on-one and by video wherever possible. Conversations over the phone, email, and Slack just get you so far. Your team must see you, and you must see them. The good news is that tools like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make it pretty simple to do so. This should be done every day at first. The goal is straightforward: set the agenda and provide input and resources to your team members.
It should go without saying that you should communicate with your team on a regular basis. One of the most difficult aspects of working from home, particularly if you’re used to being in an office, is the feeling of loneliness and isolation that can occur. This is particularly true given the widespread practice of social distancing.
Keep Expectations Realistic
Assist the team in determining what they can do and set realistic expectations for their work. Managing expectations, by the way, refers to you as a manager as well. Set your team & yourself up for success by explicitly outlining both the tasks and the reasons for them, and make sure everyone understands how you will quantify performance. This includes specifying the scope, deadlines, and deliverable for each task or project on which your team is working. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering what everybody was up to in a few weeks.
Use Video Calls if Possible
This helps in creating that office work environment at home. Moreover, if people know that they will have to be on video at any moment. Then they will automatically be more active, as they will have to change into work clothes to look professional, they can slack off during office times and more importantly it helps people understand tone, que’s and importance of tasks.
Be Flexible & Organized
“The secret to working with remote teams is to allow flexible hours to maintain consistency,” said Angela Civitella, a certified business leadership coach. “While a clear plan is required, you should be willing to change strategies when needed. It shouldn’t matter if the workers work in the morning or evening as long as the work is done and of good quality.” As long timeliness and quality of work is maintained, you should be flexible for your employees.
Make Sure Your Team has Needed Resources
Make sure that the team has the necessary technology to complete the job. If you suddenly have a team of remote employees, it’s likely that they’ll need equipment such as computers, mobile devices, software or even a high-speed internet connection. It is unreasonable to assume that everyone possesses all of these things, and it is your duty as a manager to ensure that they do.
Define Objectives Clearly
During a crisis your roles can start to become very unclear. A lot of people get job security anxiety, since they don’t feel like they are contributing on the same level. Which can affect their current performance as well. So simply focus on what employees should be accomplishing and let them know what you need from them exactly.
Focus on priorities and set them straight. Through open communication with your employees you can create clarity and improve engagement. Employees who feel like they are making a good contribution to the company feel more confident, work better and are less anxious about job security.
Working from home and managing remote teams is challenging indeed. But it is something that can help you be more successful in the future. It may be possible that after the pandemic is over, most people will permanently start working remotely.