At this point, the outbreak and spreading of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) have affected all of us both personally and professionally. This pandemic has put us all in a position where we need to protect our health by distancing ourselves from each other. However, this not only affects us, citizens but also impacts governments, businesses and the economies around the world.
Some countries have already implemented extreme measures, such as quarantine or even lockdown, in the attempt to contain the spread of the virus. Many companies have rolled out contingency plans and are also putting into place safety precautions. Educating people on the importance of washing their hands, making hand sanitiser available in the workplace and asking people to maintain as much distance as possible, are just a few to mention.
In their effort to mitigate the spread of this disease and ensure the safety of their employees, companies are even taking significant steps such as cancelling conferences and networking events, suspending employee travel, and asking people to work from home (whenever possible).
Remote working, however, is a new reality for many employees and managers. Managing people that are not around you in the office, as usual, can be quite challenging. Notwithstanding, it is possible to keep your team productive while working from home. We gathered some actionable tips to help you manage your team from a distance and ensure they keep their focus and maintain their efficiency.
5 Tips to Manage Your Team on Remote Working:
1. Provide the right tools - to allow your team to collaborate and keep track of their work process.
The tools you choose to work with can either boost or damage your team’s productivity. Fortunately, there are a lot of collaboration tools that enable remote work. Software apps like Trello, for instance, allow you and your team to keep track of the work process and allows everyone to assess their progress. Time tracking apps like timedoctor or toggl are also useful as they allow everyone to accurately track their time and progress on tasks. It’s also handy for you, as a manager, to follow up on your team work and check if they’re struggling on specific tasks. Slack or Hangouts are also good communication channels to keep regular contact with your team.
Moreover, if you manage a recruiting team, for instance, you can choose to use a talent acquisition software that allows for collaborative hiring, such as skeeled. A software such ours not only allows you to keep control of all the recruiting activities but also enables you and your team to keep your hiring processes running even if face-to-face interviews are suspended at your company. You can leverage one-way interviews and get candidates to record their answers to your questions from the safety of their homes while you and your team can review their answers remotely as well.
2. Set relevant goals - to keep your team focused on the outcomes you’re working towards.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to set SMART goals. Providing your team with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals allows both you and your team to be aligned in terms of business objectives and makes it easy for everyone to achieve the desired outcomes. The reason why is that having clearly defined goals gives your team the confidence to make a plan, track their progress, identify and clear roadblocks and deliver.
3. Measure progress - to make sure that your team stays on track.
Working at the office makes it easier for managers to keep track of their team’s work and follow up easily. But when your team is working remotely it can be quite more difficult to do.
The biggest challenge for managers that are leading a team from afar is how to keep the work effective without bombing everyone with emails and instant messages asking for updates or demanding results. It isn’t easy to find the right balance between being involved with your team and giving them the amount of space they need.
The key is getting to that place where you can hold people accountable without being “on their face”. As we see it, it’s important for managers to adapt their management style according to their team. If some people on a team respond well and are successful with minimal check-ins from their manager, others may feel disconnected and lose their motivation and, ultimately, that can break their motivation.
Therefore, it’s important for managers to touch base with their team members, adapting the regularity of these follow ups according to the characteristics of each one of them.
4. Communicate regularly and effectively - to keep everyone in the loop and avoid any miscommunication.
Communication is the key to ensure your team’s productivity while working remotely. However, it can be quite challenging to keep a good communication level with people who are not around you. Quick messaging tools such as Slack are a good option to keep high engagement levels, to touch base and make everyone in the team feel part of the workspace. For team meetings and one-on-ones, video conferencing tools are more suited. Allowing people to see each other helps to maintain them connected and using capabilities such as screen sharing allows every team member to visualise files and presentations, providing more effective communication which enhances the productivity and efficiency.
5. Emphasise personal interactions - to keep your team connected and engaged.
As mentioned before, when people find themselves working from home chances are they will feel disconnected and lonesome. This can have a tremendous impact on both their productivity and engagement levels. Moreover, managers may also tend to be more task-focused as they try to deal with the stress of managing both their teams and projects from a distance. This can result in adopting a more cold and distant type of communication.
Also, it is very common for people to communicate in very informal settings while they’re at work. People often catch up and exchange ideas while drinking a cup of coffee or when they run into each other on the company’s hallways.
That being said, it’s extremely important to make time for personal interactions. For instance, aside from team meetings and one-on-one follow up meetings, you can organise e-coffee breaks. It’s a fun and informal way of keeping in touch with your team during the day and following up on personal matters. Managers can use video conferencing tools to organise these meetups.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!
Your team here at skeeled