Although remote work is nothing new, this work model has seen a universal breakthrough in the face of the coronavirus situation. Since many companies have digitized their workplaces, some managers are leading their teams from home for the first time.
It is unusual new territory for most people. At this moment, you are not only faced with the challenge of remote working, but many of you also have to lead a team under these new conditions. Your management style has to adapt to the current circumstances, and so do the expectations of your employees.
So, how about managing a team that you no longer see face to face every day? How to follow the demands without being in the same office? Your majority communication ceases to be speech and becomes writing, which requires different care to ensure assertiveness in what one wishes to transmit.
While this may be a challenging time, you can take the below precise steps to achieve a healthy and aligned remote team. Here are our top tips.
A transparent communication strategy
While managing remote employees, it is essential to establish the best communication channels and maintain frequent communication with your team. Regular and inclusive conversations will allow you to know how they feel, what they are concerned about, give them emotional support, as well as communicate common goals while establishing the skills that each team member contributes to achieving them.
Remember that, in an office environment, employees have ample opportunities to establish a professional and personal relationship with each other, either by sharing work ideas or planning a weekend getaway together. These types of impromptu interactions between your team members can encourage work relationships and open work-related lines of communication.Of course, this is somewhat difficult to replicate. For example, when some of your team members are in a different time zone, conference calls provide an opportunity to encourage conversations and build relationships. Also, keep in communication by establishing a group chats to share successes, ask questions, and mention changes that arise daily.
On the other hand, email can be an excellent way to convey a message in certain cases. However, the danger is ending up with an endless thread of emails, conversations drift, and the common goal is lost. Again, the way to combat this is by scheduling regular calls to have real-time conversations with a clear goal. Send a calendar ahead of time and encourage everyone on the call to add it so that they don’t miss a thing. Keep the conversation open and allow every participant to speak and provide updates.By doing this, you will ensure that everyone is on the same page, aligned and informed.
Hold alignment meetings regularly
Probably one of the factors that will most impact management is the lack of eye-to-eye communication, sitting next to a teammate to understand their demands, and having face- to- face meetings with the team.
Remote work prevents this from being done in person, but it is essential to have a daily, weekly, or monthly team meeting to align demands, goals and even celebrate small victories. It will stimulate the notion of a team and will maintain the alignment of the group as a whole.
Besides, team leaders must take the time to hold one-on-one meetings, that is, individual meetings with each employee. At this point, it is necessary to provide feedback, but also it is essential to listen to what the professional has to say, and ask if he has something he would like to say to you.
The exchange of messages via WhatsApp, slack, or e-mail helps in communication, but it does not replace a video conversation, in which you can see who you are talking to and ensure that the communication is being assertive. Some tools that can be used for video calls in pairs or larger groups are Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Whereby.
Teach yourself and your team how to manage time effectively
Encourage your team to organize their working day at home the way they usually do. Without a clear structure, it is easy to mix private issues into work, which leads to distractions and unproductivity. Follow your morning routine as if you still had to get up and go to the office. This will help your brain and body to actively switch to work mode and get ready for the day. Make sure you encourage your team and yourself.
An effective way to keep in touch with your team is to schedule regular video call updates to discuss projects, progress, and priorities. This can also be a great social interaction tool that is often lacking in remote work. Use this time to answer all of your team’s questions and make it clear that you are there to support them.
These are new and unfamiliar times for all of us. The best attitude is to adapt to changes, test what works and what doesn’t, and continue to provide support and communication to your teams. Use the situation to find new working methods for you, with which you can optimally manage your remote workforce.