Before Spring 2020 and the pandemic COVID-19, remote working and working from home (WFH) was less common.
With enforced remote working and WFH, many businesses are struggling to adapt traditional face to face management in this new ‘world’.
What happens if you’re not prepared?
Enforced remote working or WFH could happen at any time, business can be interrupted, or a forced site closure can arise so even before COVID-19, your business should have been prepared.
Failing to plan for the management of a remote working team will impact significantly on productivity, team efficiency and profit. If this failure leads to unhappy clients, it will impact on all these areas. Quickly. Plus, you risk damaging your brand and reputation which can have longer term financial consequences.
It should be business as usual
There are lots of business benefits of integrating remote working into your organisation. When you don’t restrict a fixed location your talent pool widens meaning you can hire the very best employees.
It also gives you the chance to increase diversity when you employ team members from different locations and backgrounds.
Offering employees, a flexible remote working option, either at home or from a local co-working space closer to their home will help reduce your business and staff carbon footprint, help staff reduce their commuting costs and potentially your business overheads.
Various studies and surveys suggest that when the team have the option to work remotely, they have an improved work-life balance, this can increase productivity and overall well-being which will impact positively on output and ultimately save money in staff absence.
Most people want the choice to work from home
According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics, 80% of staff want to work remotely at least part time, with up to 20% prepared to take a pay cut. This presents both a challenge but also an opportunity for businesses.
You can have a motivated, focused workforce that is more productive.
You could reduce overheads, be more profitable with a team that is more motivated and engaged. If this is something your business could benefit from, implement the management well and your business can emerge positively and productively from the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are #9 easy ways to successfully manage remote teams (with no micromanagement in sight)
1. Start as you mean to go on with robust recruitment and onboarding. New jobs can be scary, if you are not physically in the same location as colleagues even more so. Getting the process right, setting the tone for the future is vital to help the employee feel motivated, excited to work for you and start to build trust. Check with them at the end of each day, support them with questions they might have during their first few weeks.
2. Explore online tools, including instant chat functions and virtual meeting technologies. There are numerous tools including Zoom, MS Teams, Skype etc the team need to have informal and formal conversations with you and their colleagues. Keep chat functions to informal conversations, never steer into dangerous territory of formal or even disciplinary conversations on a chat tool.
3. Set clear deadlines, goals and targets. Break them down into manageable sizes, follow up either the beginning or the end of the day or week. Don’t leave long gaps between contact and discussing these. Make sure you talk through what has been achieved and agree any actions if they have not.
4. Hold regular 1 to 1’s. This allows you to connect with your team, check how they are doing with projects, day to day work and build a rapport. Keep 1:1’s regular and consistent, commit to them in your calendar. Unlike a regular face to face team, there are no opportunities for a remote team to drop in impromptu in your office. Therefore, this consistency is important to stay up to date on what the remote team are working on and build trust. Where possible these sessions should be virtual video calls such as Zoom, Skype or any other chosen video resource.
5. Be mindful of hours and time zones. If you have a remote team that work different hours, or across time zones, be mindful and respectful of the teams working hours. Don’t schedule meetings are outside the working hours of the team member. Find a time when the team hours overlap with you and make the arrangements. If you bring the whole team together and take turns in who can join the meetings. Do not consistently exclude team members. If you send messages, instructions or set tasks outside of the team core working hours it is important that you are clear that you do not expect a response until their working hours start. It’s stressful if they think you expect them to respond in their own time. Be clear about expected working and response times, this can help with this issue.
6. Hold virtual team meetings. Enabling teams to feel included is important, especially if some are not remote. It is important to create a sense of belonging and community.
7. Don’t manage by email. Trying to manage projects and tasks over email leads to a sense of Inbox overload, this is unhealthy for business and individuals. Choose a tool like Trello, Basecamp, or Teams that you and your team use to gain clarity on next steps, expectations, deadlines, and ownership of tasks and action. Moving your project to a tracking tool can avoid email overload, clutter, confusion and provide a clear visual representation of the project.
8. Set up a buddy system. Get staff speaking either on the telephone or in a virtual meet up space to help them support each other. Encourage relationship building, identify colleagues that are happy to support them and provide feedback.
9. Encourage a routine for work. Sitting in their PJ’s all day is not motivational or good for mental health. Set time for lunch and breaks. Ensure you have provided your teams with the right resources and equipment to work remotely.
Integrating a good remote working model allows business flexibility, cost efficiencies, increased access to a good talent pool, a motivated and engaged team leading to increased productivity and profitability.
If you would like to discuss how remote working can be implemented in your business, please get in touch Tracy-Anne Barker @ TA Barker Associates Tracy-Anne@tabarkerassociates.co.uk
TA Barker Associates are an outsourced People Development and Corporate Social Responsibility specialists with 30 years of experience in the Construction, Retail, Recruitment, Charity, Public Sector, Training, Education, Supply Chain, Overseas Trading and Hospitality industries.
Founded by Tracy-Anne Barker, they have extensive experience in managing the three P’s (3P’s) – People, Productivity and Profitability. They provide ambitious and growing companies with experts who partner with you to build long term relationships, deliver practical and strategic solutions for your business, personalised to suit you. These include coaching and training for your team, management and consultancy support, audits and reviews of processes and procedures.
This article was originally published on HR-rewired https://www.hr-rewired.com/managing-remote-teams/