Working from home has long been trending among specialists from all different spheres. However, now, due to the unprecedented global pandemic of COVID-19 and a special quarantine mode caused by it, the situation has changed drastically.
No one will argue with the fact that the lifestyle we were all used to is now undergoing some major changes. Working remotely is no longer a choice, but rather a necessity caused by circumstances. Many organizations from all across the globe had not much choice - they either have to switch their employers to work from home or stop their business operation completely.
As a result, thousands of managers and team leaders were thrown into a situation when they suddenly had to organize the work of remote employees. What to do in such a case? How to cope with the role of the remote team’s manager? In this article, you will find some handy pieces of advice on how to ensure a stable workflow during this time.
Remote Team Management: Tips & Tricks
Frankly speaking, such a drastic change can be somewhat terrifying, especially if you have never worked with remote dedicated teams before and had no time to prepare for the change. However, there are some handy tips and tricks to help all managers out there to set up themselves and their teams for success:
1. Set a Schedule
Let’s face it - many people don’t get the concept of remote working quite right. Some of your workers may feel like it means less control and more freedom, which is why it is vital to set certain rules and define the new working schedule.
The good news for those whose companies were forced to switch from office to homes is that all of you are at least in the same time zone, which makes scheduling much easier. All you need is to adjust the working hours to the new circumstances if needed or leave it as it is and notify every employee about the hours they are expected to work.
2. Establish a Daily Check-In
While it is quite easy to figure out which of your employees are missing at the office, doing so when working remotely requires a different approach. The best way to ensure that all your workers will be showing up at work even during the quarantine is to have a mandatory daily check-in. For example, you can arrange daily one-on-one video calls with every employee.
Apart from giving you an idea of who is getting to work on time, such calls will also come in handy for setting the agenda and sharing feedback.
This tip will help to keep your remote teams just as well-organized as they were at the office.
3. Use the Right Tools
One of the hardest parts about managing remote teams is that in the office you all are connected and have a possibility to discuss everything face-to-face. When switching to work from home, it is vital to keep your workers connected as never.
Luckily, there are plenty of handy tools that you can use. There is a wide variety of task managers, messaging software, tools for collaboration, and more. Pick the right tools that suit your team’s needs and you will succeed!
4. Supply Your employees with Resources
Back at the office, your employees had all the technology, tools, and other resources right at hand. Now, when they are forced to work remotely, they will need you to supply them with everything needed to get the work done.
This basically means that to ensure success, your company needs to ensure that all your employees have laptops, mobile devices, high-speed internet connection, needed software, and other resources. Although you may assume they should have all of this, this may not be exactly like that, so your task as a manager is to ensure everyone has everything they need to be productive.
5. Communicate More
Being forced to work from home, some of us may feel rather isolated and lonely, which doesn’t do any good for the team’s productivity. On top of that, remote working can make some employees feel rather confused regarding what tasks they should perform.
Given that, during this time, it is important as never to ensure regular, natural, and simple communication to:
- Discuss expectations;
- Set agenda;
- Manage tasks;
- Ask and answer questions;
- Provide feedback;
- And, most importantly - to provide each other with support.
6. Make Your Expectations Clear
Now, at the point when you no longer can supervise everyone’s workflow throughout the day, it is vital to make yourself as clear as possible. Your task is to help your team members figure out their tasks and goals.
Making your expectations clear is the only way to set up for success.
7. Learn to Be More Flexible
Another important tip is to be flexible. As a manager, you need to understand that your team is now in an unusual situation. Probably, your employees have lots going on, which is why it is the right time to reconsider the levels of flexibility and freedom your team should have. Even setting the regular working hours may not be productive in this case, so you should figure out what helps your team be the most productive in current conditions and adjust the workflow to their needs.
8. Keep Results at the Core
Finally, the last tip for managing remote teams as effectively as possible is to switch your main focus from the overall activity to the actual results. In such a situation, you should understand that it is impossible to manage everything a remote employee does. However, when you spend less time supervising the workflow and focus more on outcomes, that’s when your team can become really productive.
The Bottom Line
The current situation in the world has caught many of us by surprise, forcing us to change our regular rhythms of life. Although it may seem rather scary and confusing, this situation also has its pros. It requires us to change priorities and learn to be more flexible, understanding, supportive, and responsible.
Although managing remote teams is harder than ensuring an effective workflow at the office, with the right approach and handy tips from this article you will be able to overcome this challenge. Follow these tips to make the most of this situation and help your teams succeed!