Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much – Helen Keller
Whether you see remote work as the future of work or just as a temporary necessity, it’s your role as a manager to keep your remote team motivated and engaged. How you manage your team directly affects teams performance and productivity.
If you and your team are not used to working remotely, it might take a while to get accustomed in the beginning. Lack of proper communication, uncertainty, loneliness – these are just a few struggles experienced by employees while working remotely.
When working from home, it’s challenging enough to manage yourself without face-to-face communication and clear structure of a typical in-office environment. To this the added task of managing your team remotely, especially if you’ve never done it before. We feel you, it can be quiet challenging.
” Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people “
Here are some simple, yet actionable steps you and your team can follow to build trust and improve everyone’s engagement and team performance.
1. Help create a great work environment
Many organisations invest considerably in their offices to offer a welcoming place where employees are excited to go and can work effectively. Studies have shown that well-designed office spaces improve employee well-being and productivity.
This should be no different for home offices. You want your employees working remotely to have a proper place and equipment, free from distractions where they can switch into a work mindset and maximize their productivity.
Guiding your employees on how to create a good home office environment, right from finding a room with good sunlight to putting plants in their home office will encourage them remove distractions and stay organized, which will improve their ability to be productive and deliver projects on time.
More importantly, invest and subsidize in your employees home office. Make it a no brainer for them. Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish. Not only will this enable your employees to stay productive, but you’re showing them that you care for them and garner loyalty.
2. Streamline and Restructure
If your team is working remotely for the very first time, you may have to spend some time streamlining your current processes and procedures. Methods that work in the office might not make sense when working remotely. Get feedback from your team about how you can streamline and restructure some of the current processes to make more sense for this new work style.
Restructuring a routine workday may make more sense for your remote team. For instance, client phone calls might better moved to the afternoon, or your lunchtime meetings could take place earlier in the day. Being open to restructuring your work day will increase productivity and maximize work time.
3. Invest in remote communication tools and layout best practices
Many organisations assume that the digital tools they already use such as Zoom, Slack, or Google Meetings, will make their transition to a fully remote team seamless.
While these tools help boosting your remote employees productivity, you can’t assume they are a silver bullet for successful remote work.
You need to teach your team best practices on how to use these tools in a fully remote work setup. For example, create guidelines that facilitate discussions in Zoom so no one person takes too much airtime, train people to always go on mute when not speaking etc. to align with your best practices.
Outside of the usual, you should also consider other tools that can help your team work remotely. Lastly, if you’re a small business and still using spreadsheets to keep track of your customer communications, upgrade to a CRM software. Tools like these can further improve your team’s remote communication.
4. Reduce video conferences
With switching to working from home, Zoom meetings and Google meetings are now part of everyone’s day to day. At some point during the day, you’re likely to hop on at least one video call to connect with your team.
With this comes video conference fatigue. Being on a video call forces you to always be present. If you look away from the camera, your team would notice this. You end up concentrating and paying more attention than you would in a regular in-person meeting.
This is mentally exhausting and adding numerous video calls throughout the day makes an individual exhausted and lose their productivity. Instead, try limiting the number of video meetings your team has. For example, if the goal of the meeting is just to share information with your team, consider emailing a presentation.
Not only will this prevent exhaustion, you’ll save your team valuable time, and improve their productivity.
5. Check In Without Being Overbearing
Since you see less of your team when they’re working remotely, it can be difficult to track their progress. When working remotely, you may be tempted to check in more often or provide more detailed instructions to your team members. While that can be helpful, it is important to find ways to manage your team’s progress without wasting time micromanaging them. Daily check-ins with your team can be a simple way to monitor their progress, set goals, and offer feedback as and when required.
In conclusion, working remotely does not have to be less effective than working from office. With the right mindset, company policies and processes your team will deliver outstanding performance while staying motivated and organized.