Tip #1 – Have a daily check-in
Whenever possible, check-ins should be one-on-one and face-to-face via video. Your team needs to see you, and you need to see them.
Each member of your team may have a different check-in preference. Therefore, it’s best to have a conversation with each team member to understand what the ideal check-in agenda and frequency would be. No matter how often, the purpose is simple – create time to check in, give feedback or direction, and make sure they have the resources they need to do their job.
Tip #2 – Communicate often
If you’re used to an office environment, one of the hardest things when working from home is feeling isolated and lonely, and these feelings are likely to be compounded while practicing social distancing. Using technology to stay in contact can reduce the mental health risk to you and your team. Incorporating video where possible so people can see you can also make a big difference.
Tip #3 – Take advantage of technology
While email and text messages might be a short-term solution, tools like Microsoft Teams or video platform Zoom are far better suited for collaboration, communication, and remote team management. Microsoft planner also integrates into Microsoft Teams for a handy collaboration and planning solution.
You can use both these applications to chat and call your team members as well as organise and attend meetings on Zoom to stay in touch.
Tip #4 – Manage expectations
Help your team define goals and objectives as well as create realistic expectations for their work. Set yourself and your team up for success by clearly stating both the tasks, the reasons behind them and exactly how success will be measured. That means defining the scope of work, deadlines, and deliverables for each task or project your team is working on. Grey areas will only create frustration for you and your team.
Tip #5 – Focus on outcomes, not activity
It’s not possible to manage every aspect of work completed by a remote team. When managing remote teams, best practices dictate that instead of focusing on activity or hours worked, focus on the outcomes and measure your team accordingly. Most importantly, celebrate outcomes and good results – no matter how big or small. With a lot going on around us, it’s important to share these moments as a team.
Tip #6 – Resource your team
Make sure your team has the technology it needs to get the work done. If you have an onsite team that is suddenly working at home, they might not have all the equipment they need. Check in with your team and find out what they need to do their job effectively. It could be as little as making sure they have a headset to dial into video meetings, or a laptop to access their work at home.
If you are missing essential items, it can be hard to find stock locally at this time. But remember our team can help sourcing equipment for you. The important thing is that your team have the resources they need.
Tip #7 – Be flexible
Understand that, especially in the current environment, your team may be juggling a lot of responsibilities. That’s not an excuse for not getting things done, but it’s a good opportunity to reconsider what productivity really means.
Punching in and out from 9 to 5 is out. You may have some team members that need to work early mornings and then back at nights, or lunch until evening as they work around families, things going on around the house, or picking up that much needed toilet paper. Trust your team and give them the freedom and flexibility to complete work on the schedule that helps them be the most productive. This approach is also good for your team in the long run.
Of course, factors such as team dynamics, environment, and so forth will make each scenario unique. Learning how to manage remote teams effectively takes time, patience and experience. However, these tips will help you keep your team productive and connected – working together while apart.