Tips to Manage Remote Teams For Success
Because of the pandemic, companies not carrying out essential work have been forced to allow staff to work from home full-time. Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances, this level of preparation may not have been feasible for many.
Phyton put together some tips that firms can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare.
Leverage Lessons from Existing Remote Workers: Many technical staff or contractors in senior or specific roles, such as Network Technicians, Design Engineers and Electronics and IT Support Specialists, already operate remotely for some or all of their working hours. This talent pool is a first-hand resource that can provide direct insights into the experience of working remotely for your company and help management teams predict any challenges or issues that may arise for other home workers.
Establish structured daily check-ins: Many successful remote managers establish a daily call with their remote employees. This could take the form of a series of one-on-one calls, if your employees work more independently from each other, or a team call, if their work is highly collaborative. The important feature is that the calls are regular and predictable, and that they are a forum in which employees know that they can consult with you, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.
Cultivate opportunities for remote social interaction: While remote workers can easily stay in touch with their colleagues via email and phone, other software can facilitate group video meetings and conference calls. Instruct team leaders to make an effort to include remote workers as much as office or site-based colleagues, by agreeing regular team meeting times and communications platforms, and using phone call or video platforms for weekly one to one meetings between managers and their direct reports.
Offer encouragement and emotional support: Especially in the context of an abrupt shift to remote work, it is important for managers to acknowledge stress, listen to employees’ anxieties and concerns, and empathize with their struggles. If a newly remote employee is clearly struggling but not communicating stress or anxiety, ask them how they’re doing. Even a general question such as “How is this remote work situation working out for you so far?” can elicit important information that you might not otherwise hear. Once you ask the question, be sure to listen carefully to the response, and briefly restate it back to the employee, to ensure that you understood correctly. Let the employee’s stress or concerns (rather than your own) be the focus of this conversation.