As the lockdown continues, most businesses are faced with the mounting struggles of managing remote teams while ensuring all parts of the business are still in a synergy that allows them to operate. It goes without saying that as a manager, you are being faced with an unprecedented situation that challenges the way you and your team operate. Ensuring that everyone stays on the top of their workload, that your teams can communicate effectively with each other and that productivity levels stay up are only some of the most important factors you need to see. So what are some of the most important tips of managing your remote-working employees during the Coronavirus?
SET SPECIFIC TIMES FOR REGULAR MEETINGS
Communication has always been paramount and in times where you can’t see your teams face-to-face, this becomes a number one priority on your list. Your team needs to have a clear picture of the tasks they have to complete and how to progress from there. Any concerns they might have should be discussed so that the back-and-forth during the day is kept to a minimum - and everyone stays focused. Depending on the size of your teams and business, a recommended minimum of 15-30 minutes per team should be sufficient. This could be one of the first tasks that you do during the morning, followed by a mid-day and end of the day catch-up. There are many tools available to help you organise tasks and deadlines. Trello, Notions.so, Connecteam are only a few.
Apart from ensuring that your teams are on the right track with their tasks and everyone is moving towards the same goal, having regular conversations with your teams also helps with reducing loneliness. Having regular catch-ups also promotes teams to talk to each other more, boosting teams’ morale during self-isolation.
SET EXPECTATIONS AND INTERNAL PROCESSES THAT WORK
Just as you have precesses back in the office, it is equally important to have a set of rules and processes that are tailored to facilitate working from home. You will need to discuss with your team how reporting is going to work, what is the best way to do it, what software and tools everyone should use and so on. Setting expectations also allows everyone to deliver that’s been promised and in a way that works. Working times might also be a good thing to cover. Take your time and discuss with your team what matters.
ENSURE THAT EVERYONE HAS WHAT THEY NEED
Every business functions differently and everyone has different needs. Ensure that your team members have the equipment they need in order to perform well. They might be using their home laptops, but it’s important to know if they have access to the right software that you might use, the right phone and so on.
As we previously mentioned, another issue you might want to discuss is the working hours. Everyone has different work environments at home. They might deal with different responsibilities, taking care of children or other relatives. That’s why the 9-5 dynamic might not suit everyone during this time. Encourage your team members to strike a balance between workload and the hours they are the most productive. Note that during this crisis, many people could deal with higher anxiety levels, the loss of dear ones and other situations that could impact their productivity. Be understanding and mindful of your employees.
ENCOURAGE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR MENTAL HEALTH
Living in isolation is something that none of us has ever experienced before. And when you deal with keeping your work responsibilities up while also taking good care of yourself can be difficult. Undoubtedly, most of us experience higher levels of stress that arise from different sources- whether it is family, job or anything else, it’s something that should not be ignored. During your catch-ups, it is a good idea to encourage your teams to:
Allocate some time for activities that relaxes them (could have a walk outside, jog, take the dog out, practice a hobby they once abandoned)
Separate work from personal life (during outside work hours, they shouldn’t check emails)
Have themed discussions every now and then with the rest of the members.