Many businesses and universities have asked their staff to operate remotely in response to the uncertainties caused by Covid-19. Although nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce still operates at least part of the time from home, the new policies leave many workers and their supervisors for the first time working outside the workplace and away from each other.
While it is always preferable to maintain clear remote working and training strategies in advance, in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances and this level of preparedness may not be reliable. Fortunately, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can effortlessly take to improve remote employee engagement and productivity, even when there’s little time to prepare.
Problems that a manager has to face while managing a remote team
As it is becoming more prevalent for staff employed remotely, difficulties are taking a toll related to remote team management.
- Lacking the right method for communication
- Hiring the correct resources
- Missing framework for accountability
- Respecting the time of everybody
- No specific responsibilities and tasks
- Setting timetables
- Difficulty in tracking the employee performance
- Inside the team, lack of coordination
- Ensure everybody as a part of the team
Several Actions for Remote Team Management:
Companies such as Aha, Nation Builder, Automatic Buffer, and many more operate as 100% remote companies successfully. Even, many businesses are going through thick and thin to run around as remote working businesses effectively. If you’re constantly wondering “How to handle remote teams” and are searching for some thoughts about how teams have set themselves up remotely effectively, we’ve got some guidelines for you, “How to handle remote teams” and are looking for some suggestions on how teams have set up themselves remotely effectively. There are also relatively simple and inexpensive things that managers can do to ease the process, because, remote work can be full of challenges.
- Actions you are willing to take today include:
- Establish regular organized check-ins
- Providing many different technologies for communication
- Then set up “the principles of engagement”
- Provide remote social networking opportunities
- Give inspiration and emotional Support:
- Offer them assistance where they need it.
- Must Remember their career paths, too.
1. Establish regular organized check-ins:
Several successful remote companies implement a regular call with their remote worker. This could take the form of a series of one-on-one calls if your employees work more independently of each other, or a team call, if your work is highly collaborative. The important characteristic is that the calls are regular and predictable and that they are a place where the staff knows that they can communicate with you and that they can hear your concerns and questions.
2. Providing many different technologies for communication
Just communicating by E-mail, is insufficient. Remote workers advantage from having “richer” tools or technologies, such as video conferencing, that deliver participants with many of the visual indications that they would have if they were face-to-face. Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for the smaller teams: Visual indications allow greater “mutual awareness” about co-workers and also help to reduce the sense of isolation among teams. For complicated or sensitive conversations, video is particularly useful, as it feels more authentic than written or sound communication.
There are other situations when fast collaboration is more necessary than visual detail. Provide mobile-enabled person messaging features (such as Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) for these situations. These features can be used for simple, less structured conversations, and time-sensitive communication.
If your company does not yet have the latest technology tools, there are inexpensive ways to access simple versions of these tools for your remote team as a short-term solution. Check with your organization’s IT department to ensure an adequate level of data security is in place before using any of these tools.
3. Then set up “the expectations” &” the principles of engagement”:
Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations about the ideal frequency, means, and timing of communication for their teams. For example, “We use video conferencing for daily registration meetings, but we use instant messaging when something is urgent.” Often, if you can, notify your staff of the best way and time to contact you during the workday (for example, “I prefer to be more available for ad hoc phone or video calls at the end of the day.” But if there is an emergency earlier in the day, text me.”) Finally, check the communication between members of the team (as appropriate) to ensure that the relevant information is shared.
We suggest that managers, preferably during the first online check-in meeting, develop these “principles of engagement” with staff as soon as possible. Although certain assumptions about individual expectations can be better than others, the most important aspect is that all employees have the same set of communication expectations.
Be clear with the employees will help them to focus on working towards the same goal.
The manager should set clear expectations for;
- Conduct Meetings timely
- Working hours
- Effective communication system
- Scheduled meetings
- Project & deadlines
- Email response
4. Provide remote social networking opportunities:
One of the most important steps a manager should take is to structure ways for employees to communicate socially while working remotely (that is, holding casual conversations about non-work subjects). This applies to all remote employees, but particularly to workers who have been unexpectedly transitioned out of the office.
For example, “We’re going to spend the first few minutes just catching up,” that the best way to create simple social interaction is to provide some time at the beginning of team calls for non-work items only. How was your weekend? Online pizza parties (where pizza is served to all team members throughout a video conference) and online office parties (where ‘treatment boxes’ can be sent in advance to be obtained and enjoyed at the same time) are the other options.” Although these types of events appear artificial or forced, experienced remote worker managers (and employees themselves) report that virtual events help reduce feelings of alienation, encouraging a sense of belonging,
5. Give inspiration 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 identify with their struggles. If it is evident that a recent remote employee is struggling but is not communicating stress or anxiety, ask how they are doing. “Even a general question such as “Why does this situation of remote work working so far? You will gain useful information that otherwise you would not have heard. Once you ask the question, be sure to listen carefully to the answer and briefly repeat it back to the employee, to make sure they understood it correctly. Let the stress or concerns of the employee (rather than your own) be the center of this conversation.
Emotional intelligence & emotional contagion research informs us that workers look to their supervisors for indications of how to respond to unexpected changes or circumstances of crisis. This will have what Daniel Goleman terms a “trickle-down” impact on employees if a manager expresses stress and helplessness. A two-pronged approach is taken by successful leaders, understanding the stress and uncertainty that workers can experience in challenging situations, while also affirming their confidence in their teams, using phrases like “we have this” or “this.” it’s hard, but I know we can handle it”, or “let’s find ways to use our strengths during this time”. With this assistance, workers are more likely to pick up the task with a sense of purpose and concentration.
6. Offer them assistance where they need it.
Being out of reach, you would have to work to meet any employee’s needs. Though you may be out of reach, don’t let them be out of your mind. Unexpected issues related to the project, or a teammate, or how the work is done are usual in every business. If something is really hassling your employees or they’re feeling under the stress, understand the points they might be giving or convincing you. So be responsible and give them a helping hand.
7. Must Remember their career paths, too.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about your remote team members as mercenaries helping you to get things done. If you hire them as employees, treat them like any other employee, not a self-employed/contractor.
Like the persons in your office, your remote staffs have aims and aspirations. Making sure they progress on their growth goals and understand the career paths available from a distance avoids confusion or frustration. (Remember: you can grow people without promotions.)
If you follow the recommendation to have one-on-one time with your remote employees, you will have plenty of time to discuss your career development during that time.
For the first time, we’ll provide our own note of support to managers facing remote work. In the comments, let us know your own tips for handling your remote workers.