Managing a remote team is tricky. Do you give people free rein or closely monitor them? The answer is to find a balance between the two: a measured free rein.
Both small and big companies need to figure out ways to manage their teams in a remote work environment. Even companies that had remote teams before the global pandemic need to recognise the new normal.
Most companies have found that even after the coronavirus pandemic, working from home will continue to be a useful option. Studies have shown that most employees would like the flexibility of working from home for at least 2-3 days in a week post-pandemic. Hence, more businesses are seriously contemplating the viability of offering their employees an opportunity to work from home after the pandemic.
These are six ways to adapting your management style for remote teams and people working from home.
1. Build trust:
Trust is key to the effectiveness of an organization on a given day. But, for a virtual environment, trust between colleagues is a crucial for the success of your business.
When a majority of your staff are working from home, it is not possible to set mandatory working hours. This is because the employees will be struggling to organize a new set of responsibilities and schedules. They will also be facing unique challenges and circumstances in their daily routines.
You have to trust your remote team to deliver what they are usually capable of without placing the additional burden of normal working hours on them. The holy grail is flexibility.
2. Find ways to collaboratively work together:
Team leaders need to be working with their remote teams on particular schedules, protocols, and find ways of managing the peculiarities of their team members.
Many work tools such as Canva, Google Docs, and Figma, allow more than one person to be working on a project. Use pdf files for the documentation or convert to pdf files as they support graphic integrity and are secure.
Although there isn’t any specific system in place that will work well for all teams and team members. As much as possible, try to keep things normal and keep in mind that in several circumstances you are going to face the new normal.
3. Maintain accessibility:
You need to be accessible even when you are not visible — in the same office with your colleagues. You can consider running virtual coffee meetings for those who need to discuss or arrange "ask me anything" instances for keeping in touch.
Everybody is worried about their families, friends and colleagues. You need to consistently update your teams with accurate information as soon as it becomes available. The key is good communication — communicate with the team quickly and with clarity. If possible be video-enabled although all meetings need not be with a strict agenda.
Ensure that you check on each other and stay connected as an alternative to the coffee breaks of the office.
4. Ask managers to meet regularly:
Team managers should meet regularly through Zoom or other video-conferencing platforms with their direct reports.
It is important to also decide on the reasonable expectations for being effective at home. As team members engage the practices they have agreed upon, keep adhering to these practices and at the same time be sensitive to the extenuating circumstances.
Managers have to be connected to their team members so that they are aware of how things are going in a personal and professional capacity.
5. Keep a fun atmosphere:
"If work isn't fun, you're not playing on the right team", said Author Frank Sonnenberg.
Try to make stressful or intimidating situations such as starting a job more fun. You may adapt the onboarding experience by creating a virtual scavenger hunt and every piece of the onboarding process provides a clue to the next piece. New hires may follow a map or game board that establishes the steps and tells the expectations in a fun manner.
Another problem with the virtual environment is providing and getting continuous and timely feedback. The feedback can be either positive or negative.
Keep in mind that it is human to seek recognition after having done great things. If you have accomplished something meaningful after working very hard you will be wishing for that pat on the back.
In a virtual environment, it is easy for people to just move on to the next thing without taking the time out to wait and give someone the high-five and recognize his or her accomplishment.
On the other hand, if there is a problem or a situation that requires redirection or constructive criticism, it is important to have the conversation directly and sensitively as close to the event as possible.
This is guest post from Lena Linetti. She is an architect with 8+ years of experience in interior and exterior design. Her mission is to inspire others to live their dreams and create their perfect sweet home.