Coping with COVID-19: Managing your remote workforce
COVID- 19 has disrupted every facet of society, work is one of the biggest affected. From managing teams in an office, remote working has now become a norm for many. Working away from the office can bring with it new challenges especially for those who are not used to working remotely. Here are some top tips that we have developed, that will help you and your teams thrive in a remote environment.
1. Creating engaged teams from afar
Communication is key. It can be difficult to have an engaged team from afar, but its crucial in ensuring that your staff communicates with you and one another. It may seem simple, but this is one of the most challenging things to get right when working remotely. Ensure that you have set up an internal chat platform so teams can quickly reach other. Technology is key in this regard and with so many digital platforms to choose from, always get your team’s buy-in when deciding what platform to choose.
2. Getting the right platforms to ensure the transition from work to home is a seamless one
It’s all about accessibility. Ensure that all your work drives and important work documents your team uses are accessible to all. Also ensure that any additional information that your teams may require, should be well documented. We have found Microsoft teams are a great way to do this. If certain of your team members are working on differing projects, this is a great platform to check-in, collaborate, share, communicate and access information. Slack and Monday are also great platforms to do this on.
Ensure that all your staff is confident using the platforms you choose and can connect to them with ease. Your whole team needs to be on the same page when it comes to this, to best optimize their workforce environments. Remember communication is key!
3. Manage vs Micromanage
Many fear that if they are not in constant check with their teams that they will not perform as they would in the office. The key here is to ensure your usual team meetings happen virtually as well as you’re one-on-one. It’s imperative that you also let your team know when they can contact you and that if an emergency arises you are always contactable. The point is to make your team feel that they are not alone no matter how remote their situation may be. We have found that a simple phone call works best for daily check-ins and if an issue does arise- the quickest way to resolve an issue is a quick call.
It’s also important not to micromanage especially when managing remote teams. You need to trust your teams will be just as productive as they would be in the office. There is no use in checking in with teams and individuals every half hour or so – this creates an atmosphere of mistrust.
4. Manage expectations and set clear objectives
Set clear weekly goals individually as well as in your teams. This will ensure that everyone has clarity on what they will need to achieve and help them have a focus on the weekly tasks at hand. If you set unclear goals and objectives it will lead teams and individuals to unproductive work weeks.
5. Flexibility is key
Working from home doesn’t always offer an oasis of tranquillity. Ensure that you are flexible with your team when it comes to working hours and logging on. Some could have children they need to attend to or have fallen ill. Always listen to the needs of your team and how you can best support them performing their day to day roles. If you must reschedule meetings or one to ones, always ensure they feel supported and provide leadership remotely.
6. Keep the morale high
In times like these its crucial for you to keep your team in high spirits and whether that is by sending a meme or sharing a joke, always try to foster a positive workplace culture, even if it’s a remote one. It’s also a way to build a personal rapport with colleagues. We have introduced a fun ‘community team group’ for the whole company to be part of, so company members can post funny clips, memes, and videos and offer tips on how they are coping with remote working.