The world has changed in a crazy kind of way that none of us could have expected. While some companies had already begun outsourcing to remote teams, it is now a reality for many companies. Getting people equipped at home and having the proper communication was step number 1. There are also some other aspects to running a business without seeing your team daily that are essential to business success. Here are some of the ways you can effectively run a remote team.
Managing a remote team is totally different from what you’re used to when it comes to leadership. Here are some ways that will help you get the most out of your remote team.
You want to make sure that you don’t hover around your remote team. Sometimes it’s challenging to not see your employees, and you may assume they’re not doing any work. If they don’t respond right away, you might be thinking the worse. Some employees might be lazy when there’s nobody looking over their shoulder.
However, they would find a way to do this at the office as well. It’s important that you trust your employees. If you know them and trained them, believe in this. Lay out clear expectations so they know what you want from them. Communicate with them regularly at a set time instead of randomly throughout the day.
Make sure that you pay attention to your employees. You don’t want to undermanage them either. Say good morning and ask them about their progress. If you can tell they’ve been working hard for you, let them know you appreciate it. Your employees don’t want to feel ignored. If they feel this way, they will probably do what they want and not what you want them to be doing. Be consistent and regular in your communication. Get everyone together on Zoom on a regular basis so they feel like they’re part of a team.
Alter Your Workflow Expectations
It’s more important to look at productivity as opposed to the timeclock. You might be used to having your employees at their desk from a certain time of the day. Workers who are at home will of course toss a load of laundry in while they work. They might have interruptions or take the dog for a walk, but they probably aren’t taking a full hour for lunch. In the end, if work is done properly and deadlines are met, does it really matter?
Understand too that working from home isn’t always easy for your employees. They might have family and household needs that they can’t ignore while they’re home. Kids aren’t going to understand that their parents can’t be disturbed all day while they’re home. Having a remote team involves flexibility from all people, including you.
Focus on Productivity
As a manager in a workplace, you are usually busy talking with employees. People will knock on your door and ask things. All of a sudden when nobody can do this, you find yourself without distractions like before. This might even make you anxious. You might feel like you’re not doing your job, so you create unnecessary work. You may also feel anxious because you can’t see what they’re doing. A lot of your job is taken away, but this is actually a good thing. You can focus on doing the deep work of the business that you usually couldn’t do. Being really busy doesn’t mean you’re productive.
Utilize Group Chat to Bring Employees Together
Employees are going to miss being in an office, so do what you can to create a workplace culture online. This doesn’t involve interrupting employees throughout the day. Schedule a group coffee break on your virtual platform. Create a group chat where people can post personal things. Maybe it’s someone having a birthday or something that you want to give a shout out to. Don’t forget about cute cat videos.
Try to have some small chat in your chat room that you would have at the office. If your employees are happy, they’re going to be more productive. You also want them to stay bonded with the team. It’s so essential to maintain that human connection.
Avoid Burning Out
Take breaks during the day. We can get caught up working from home more than we ever did working at an office. Make sure that you set breaks for yourself and have alarms to remind you to take breaks. Burnout from remote working is a major factor. Everyone has to learn new technology and do more with less. Separating work from home is also a stressor. Take breaks yourself and encourage your staff to do the same.
Make sure your employees are ok
Tend to the needs of your employees. Whatever you can give them to help them do their work remotely will be appreciated. Some may thrive working at home while others will need your support. Don’t wait for employees to approach you. Instead, reach out to them. Make it safe for them to get the help they need from you by being open and welcoming. Give them an avenue to reach you. You might create virtual office hours or make yourself available during certain hours each week on Zoom. Also, offer a “drop in” option where they can ask for help when they need it.
Be There for Your Employees
Don’t just talk all business all the time. Make sure that you ask employees about personal things such as their health, family, and any stress points they’re having. Everything has changed since COVID-19, and it’s unsettling for most people. You might have to offer solutions for employees who are feeling overwhelmed with the new way of living and working. While sure, managers wouldn’t have intruded on personal business in the past, things are truly different. Be there for your staff.
Yes, these are challenging times and your whole leadership role has changed. Embrace these changes and you will experience a thriving remote team. If you incorporate these tips in your management role, you’ll find great efficiency, productivity, and a happy team.