Managing a Team of Remote Workers? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
Due to the current pandemic, many businesses across the globe are (understandably) struggling to transition to this new normal. The events of 2020 caught a lot of us off-guard. In some cases, the necessary structure wasn’t in place to support the sudden demand for remote working teams.
Adjusting to managing a remote team can be a steep learning curve. As your team will need different support mechanisms in place to what you usually offer in the office. Whether they need help creating an inspiring workspace or need more ideas to stay productive, here’s what you need to know.
As we face these challenges, we must rise to meet the required demands. Let’s do this!
Does Your Team Have the Right Equipment?
Have you equipped your employees with everything they need to do their job? Make sure that your team has the technology that they need to work successfully from home. This could be as simple as providing them with a phone and a laptop. But you could find yourself addressing other problems. Suitable cameras and microphones to allow for virtual meetings is a good place to start.
Make sure they have access to the collaborative tools they need, and that your business has the infrastructure to offer that. Outsourced IT support can help with this part. Don’t assume that people know how to, or feel comfortable working with virtual communications. Try to acknowledge that virtual communication is different, and won’t always be perfect, but make sure that respect and professionalism are still key. Considering creating a learning resource for this, with clear instructions, and who to contact for any tech-related issues.
Keep the Channels of Communication Open
It’s important to maintain a dialogue between you and your employees. Despite distance working, employees need to have an understanding of what decisions your organisation is making and what these decisions mean, especially during challenging periods like this.
Two-way communication between management and employees gives your team the information and understanding that they need and allows them the freedom to express their thoughts and concerns too. Even when everyone is office-based these decisions can pass people by. So make a real conscious effort in this area while your team is working remotely.
A Focus on Workplace Well-being Is Still Important
Look out for signs of distress in your team. You can watch for these signs with direct conversation and by making indirect observations. Watch out for what challenges and concerns your employees have. Take any chance to make it clear that your job is to support and care for the team. Learn how to broach sensitive subjects that may come up under the current situation, including job security, workplace tensions and alternative work models.
Promote an Environment in Which Your Team Feels Trusted
Trust your team. The best thing you can do as a team leader is to suspend any disbelief and instead put your trust and confidence in your employees that they will do the right thing. With your support, they will. Managers may be worried about not being able to keep visibility of their team as they usually would and respond by micromanaging instead.
Don’t do this, as all it does is disengage and fatigue already worried and stressed staff. Try not to fixate on perceived problems with performance, and remember you’ll have time to return to performance management systems when this crisis has passed its height.
Increase Any Staff Recognition
Increase recognition. During unsettling periods, employees will have more desire to be recognised for their work and contributions in order to feel secure. Proper recognition motivates the recipient, also shows other employees what behaviour you’re looking for.
Effective ways to show recognition include bonuses, public acknowledgement, tokens of appreciations, development opportunities, and other perks. If work has slowed down, take the opportunity to offer training or development options to staff members who wouldn’t usually have the time.
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