Best practices for managing remote teams
Much of how we do our jobs has changed over the course of the last few months. Working remotely became mainstream with the impact of Covid-19. And for millions around the world, not returning to a physical office space could remain the norm for the unforeseeable future.
As a result, finding ways to adapt to these circumstances is vital for business continuity. For team leaders and executives, simplifying the process of effectively managing their people remotely is key. Several best practices exist and in today’s blog, we look at 3 of them.
1. Schedule time for face-to-face interactions
There are plenty online tools that enable groups of people to come together virtually quickly, easily and affordably. And now, more than ever, maintaining human connections (albeit remotely) has never been more important if one considers the impact that social isolation has on the mental health of everyone. So make time to gather your people together, be this through video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or Whereby, so they have the chance to see each other and engage face-to-face. Putting new faces to names or reconnecting with the people whose faces we know but haven’t seen in person for a very long time is a powerful way of building and strengthening relationships. Focus on creating a collaborative company culture online just as much as you would offline.
2. Be flexible
Being empathetic to the needs of your employees is key right now, particularly if you have remote teams working in different countries, in different time zones, and under different circumstances, across the globe.
Now is not the time to be a stickler for rigid time-keeping. People will usually give you their all if you trust in them enough to do the job you need done. Sometimes, this will happen a little bit earlier or a little bit later in the day than what you’re accustomed too. But adapting to change often means adjusting our mindsets. Getting the same result (the result you want) but in a different way can work, sometimes better than you ever envisioned. There are no fixed rules that define what productivity should look like. So make up your own, redefine your notion of productivity that works for everyone and run with it.
3. Provide ongoing training and support
As your remote teams become used to the rhythms of the new work-from-home environment, be cognizant that some individuals may need more time to settle into their new roles and become familiar with the new technologies that they’re having to use to facilitate remote tasks and responsibilities. So focus on getting everyone onboard and fully trained. Make it an interactive learning experience so everyone has the opportunity to use the tools and ask any questions they might have. Schedule regular virtual meetings to monitor ongoing projects and assignments. Keep the channels of communication open so your teams feel comfortable to reach out if they encounter any difficulties.
In conclusion, in the words of Mark Yarnell, “a leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible“. Be the type of leader who inspires, empowers and above all, shows that in the face of adversity, almost anything is possible.