Working remotely has, for many years, been a dream that most of us wished for but few were able to make a reality. Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic businesses around the world have been forced to adapt and have their employees working from the comfort of their own homes and despite the unfortunate circumstances leading up to it, many employees are enjoying the new work-life and are hoping to continue working from home even when the lockdown ends.
However, working from home does create new challenges that managers and team leaders need to deal with, in an effort to make the switch smoother and to keep your team working at peak productivity, we have written a few tips below that will help you to better manage your team.
Structure is something that is often taken for granted in an office environment as it is pre-existing for most employees. This structure is not around when working from home and it can be easy for employees to slip into chaos, having trouble with getting their work done on time and to their usual standard. To prevent this, it is important to create some ground rules so that your team knows that while they are in their home, they still need to do a certain amount of work. A middle ground should be found so that they can work comfortably while still producing a high level of work. To find this middle ground, our next point is essential.
Communication is key
Since your team can no longer drop by your office or desk to ask a question or to clarify something, good communication is vital to not only keeping your teams standard of work high but also keeping your team together as a group. Make sure employees understand they need to communicate either over the phone, over a virtual meeting, or even through direct messages like Facebook or iMessage.
A good way to ensure communication is to have either a daily or weekly meeting over Zoom where the team can chat briefly before going over their responsibilities for the day. This helps to keep them informed but will also offer a chance for them to express concerns, ask questions, and generally keep in touch with their fellow teammates.
As we just mentioned, communication and sharing information is key, so be sure to share any tips that could help individual members to better do their work. For example, when attending a virtual meeting it is important that they maintain a professional appearance, and having a good Zoom virtual background images can help them do just that. Using a service like Hello Backgrounds allows them to pick a virtual background to hide any distractions that may come up during a meeting either with their own team or anyone else.
Trust is a vital part of managing a remote team and unfortunately, many managers simply donâ€™t have the level of trust that their employees deserve. Micromanaging will inevitably lead to a poor work environment due to team members feeling overly pressured. This not only decreases the overall level of work but will also hurt their mental health which is likely to already be suffering due to the stress of COVID-19. Trust your team and avoid micromanaging, keep on top of whatâ€™s going on but be sure not to hound them over insignificant things.
Support your team
While many people will love the new remote work culture, others can easily find the change leaving them lonely and isolated. They may start to feel like they are no longer part of the team and this paired with a distinct reduction of general human contact can be very tough for some. Make sure your team knows they are supported and are being heard when they express concern. A good practice is to have a weekly call with each employee one-to-one to catch up on what they are doing, how they are feeling, and if there is anything you can do to help.