The Covid-19 vaccine is here, finally! After a long year of working remotely, it’s time to get back to the office.
Not so fast, though (quite a bummer).
According to a Gartner survey, 90% of companies will let their employees work remotely, even after the vaccinations.
Where does this leave the management of our team? You might have put together some rules before, but like most managers, these were probably temporary. Now that remote working might continue, it’s time to build a robust system.
Below are some simple tips to help you manage your team well remotely:
Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Working from home has robbed employees and employees of the simple act of walking up to a colleague’s desk or office for a face-to-face meet-up.
To bridge this gap, allow your employees to talk to you. It could be through team calls on Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts, especially when it is a collaborative team. Give them a chance to share their ideas and concerns – make them feel heard.
You can even turn your availability on to let your employees know when they can contact you for a one-on-one conversation. This gives them a chance to talk to you about other personal concerns or specific employee targets and job performance.
There is no need to work yourself up and your employees for missed deadlines and rushed work reports. Indeed, remote working has torn decades of set rules apart, which may have led to confusion and lack of focus by employees.
But to ensure everyone knows what they need to do, I suggest setting clear objectives for every employee. These should include:
● Working hours
● Communications channels
● Crucial projects plus their deadlines
● Scheduling meetings and timely attendance
● Responding to communications
The clearer you are with these, the more focused employees are on achieving the team’s and the organisation’s goals.
Equip Your Employees
Your work instructions might be as clear as day and night, but there’s only little that your team members can accomplish without the right tools. Do not assume that the work laptops and mobile phones they have are sufficient.
What software is required? Do they need cameras, headphones, microphones, and other tools to make their work more efficient?
I would also recommend coaching your employees on how to work remotely with each other and escalate ineffective or uncomfortable virtual communications.
Team Building & Bonding
To create a stronger bond and sense of belonging, I suggest setting time for teambuilding! Do you know that highly immersive online teambuilding programmes exist?
Though with the vaccine in place, an annual or semi-annual face-to-face get-together is now more possible. But with the rise and permanence of remote teams, you might want to give virtual teambuilding sessions a shot.
Nonetheless, in between these structured programmes, try to be a bit more personable with your employees during work calls. Don’t just focus on their work and deliverables or work, in general, for that matter. Say hello to them, ask about their health and family.
Most importantly, celebrate their milestones and victories, even with a simple GIF, congratulatory email or note, or surprise packages to their homes.
The new normal of remote work need not destabilise team management and engagement. With a dose of creativity, resourcefulness and willingness to adapt to what technology can offer, we may find ourselves enjoying our work and working with our colleagues more.
Written by Andy Pan, Director (Client Solutions) at Right Impact, and the Author of Happy Companies, Healthy Profits
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