What are the main things a leader should do when managing their teams remotely?
The spread of COVID-19 has led to travel restrictions, school closings, and cities around the world moving toward closure. Amid these new conditions, most of us still need to continue our daily work. But the way we do this is changing rapidly, with many organizations implementing new patterns of social distancing, including working from home measures. So, leading a team that does not have a lot of personal contacts (especially if they are not used to it) is a difficult task. And, most importantly, how to create a committed and united group when everyone is scattered around the city?
We all know it’s not easy. But the following strategies can help you manage a team remotely and make everyone feel productive and connected.
Tips to efficiently lead your home office team
Here are 5 steps to create an environment of trust in remote work.
Have transparent communication with your team members
The leader needs to have clear and transparent communication with his subordinates, especially during times of crisis. Virtual communication is different from face-to-face, so it is essential to ensure that all your employees feel included in the company.
The anxiety and stress of the employees can cause insecurity, and the leader must show control over the situation, demonstrate confidence, be informed about all the measures that the company will take in relation to the crisis, and the impact of it.
Besides, show interest in knowing about your employees’ mental and physical health as well. Sometimes leaders are so focused on tasks that they forget to ask their team how they are feeling. This step is crucial because remote work doesn’t let you see how the person is doing, so pay attention to these details.
Be present for your team
Even if your team members cannot see you physically, your team has to know that you are there with the team during this uncertainty. And, the good news is that digitization has made it easy for everyone to virtually present with their team. It is essential to give feedback to the actions carried out by the workers to avoid the feeling of loss or helplessness.
A great way to do this is by setting up regular follow-up meetings. In these, you can report the global status of the project, update the documents you work with, propose changes, or correct possible errors if required.
However, be careful with over-control. Try not to micromanage things, or ping unnecessarily several times a day, simply to see whether they’re working or not, your employees may feel that you don’t trust them. Trust your employees as you used to do in the office.
Organize a daily update
When everyone is in the office, it’s easy to go to someone’s desk if they have any questions, ask the team for updates, or discuss any issues. With everyone working remotely, it’s tough to manage everything accordingly.
Thus, set up a daily meeting to catch up with the team, and discuss the concerns, and make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. A great way to do this is to do 15-20 minute meetings first thing in the morning in which each employee answers the following questions:
- What did they achieve yesterday?
- What shall they do today?
- Any obstacles they’re facing during the work?
Be flexible and trust your team
Working remotely implies that you are not aware of the time that your team spends sitting in the chair in front of the computer. Therefore, we cannot control time as an indicator. During the workday, you have to focus on the result, which is, working on projects or objectives. When you talk about the need to create an environment of trust in remote work, be sure you are not talking about trusting that people work from nine to six.
Natalie Nagele, the cofounder of Wildbit, states: “For me, the value of remote work is that trust and that ability to empower each person to manage their time, their days, and their responsibilities around a product. We make a promise to each other: I am going to deliver on this, and if I can’t deliver it, I am going to communicate why?”
Focus on the health of your employees
Strategies and reorganizations are – most of the time – at the heart of companies’ discussions so as not to suffer a drop in activity and particularly to support the economy of the territory. But the human remains essential, especially in this period of the health crisis.
The feeling of worry and the questions are specific to each. It is about reassuring each other and moving forward together in this crisis. Talking with employees about their daily lives at home, children’s homework, or extra-professional activities – while remaining professional – will allow us to continue to maintain a human bond and to maintain or even improve trust in our employees. Because, remember, today is about moving forward together and being there for each other to overcome this difficult period.
The popularity of remote work will only continue to grow, and it may become a necessity in some cases. As a leader, it is essential to help all employees, distance workers, temporary workers, and consultants on your team to feel a connection with each other, with their work and with the organization in general.