Companies are responding to the unpredictability unveiled by the Coronavirus pandemic by asking their employees to work remotely. As a result, there’s now a multitude of managers, team leaders, and supervisors who suddenly find themselves needing to manage remote teams. And for many of us, it’s the first time we’ve ever had to do so, with barely any time to prepare at all.
This scenario that managers have suddenly been plunged into might be a little more than difficult to come to grips with, leaving some feeling like they have lost control over things and even affecting trust levels amongst teams. But with up to 90% of all employees saying they would like to work remotely at least part of the time for the rest of their careers, the remote work model is definitely something that we all need to embrace. That’s why the Redwolf & Roch team have gathered some tips to help make it easier for you to manage your team remotely:
Use tech to your advantage
This is the first thing you need to ensure, and this applies to both hardware and software. Technological tools will be the ultimate key in nailing communication and efficient collaboration. Allocate resources into making sure your team has all the tools they need to get the work done. This can range from apps, laptops, mobile devices, and even high-speed internet. It’s presumptuous to assume that everyone has access to these tools, and it’s your responsibility as a manager to ensure that your team does.
Create a communication strategy and establish “rules of engagement” to help make remote work become more seamless and efficient. This means setting expectations for frequency, ideal timings, means, etc. for the team’s communication. And while certainly, maintaining professionalism in virtual communication is important, there’s nothing wrong with making use of appropriate emojis here and there.
And clear ones, at that. Whether it must involve demonstrating how you want things done via video coaching, showing examples through Loom videos, or sharing calendars and project management outlines, make sure your expectations are as clear as can be for (and from) those you work with online. The better prepared the team is, the better they’d be able to execute plans and projects effectively.
The proof is in the outcome, not in the activity
When transitioning into a remote workforce, the focus should be on the goals and managing expectations. Worry less about what things are being done and how they’re being done. Instead, focus on what is being accomplished at the end of the day. Besides, it’s impossible to manage every aspect of the work that your team is doing, especially when your team is distributed across different locations (and maybe even time zones) so it would be futile to even try. A better way to measure your team accordingly is through the outcomes, not on the hours worked or how those hours were spent.
During such uncertain and worrying times, you need to understand that even (or especially) outside of work, your team has a lot on their plate. While that’s no excuse for not getting work done, it’s a great reason, as a manager, to give some thought to what productivity really means. With the current state of things, the “9-to-5” and punching a clock for 8 hours is definitely out of the question for many of us. That’s why you need to learn to be flexible with your team and allow them a schedule or a working groove that helps them be their most productive. You’d thank yourself for it because, in the end, it would be best not just for the team, but for the entire company as well.
Offer Encouragement & Support
Because of the abrupt shift from office based work to remote work, as a manager, you need to not only acknowledge but also understand the new and unique stresses that your team will be facing. Be even more open to discussing things with your team members, whether it’s concerns about the future or anxiety about work, learn to empathize with their struggles effectively, even if it’s through virtual communication. And if a team member is clearly showing signs of distress and struggles, don’t hesitate to be the first one to approach and check in on them.
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