Managing a team remotely comes with its own set of challenges, especially if you’re not used to it, having to loosen the reins may feel a little unnerving. However, remote working has many advantages, including greater productivity, higher employee satisfaction levels and lower staff turnover.
Here are six things to consider when managing a team remotely:
1) Management styles will change and it’s ok to take time to adjust
Many have suddenly found themselves managing a team from home, and it will no doubt be something that will take managers time to adjust to. Many supervisors feel that they need to be with their staff in person to be a good leader and worry that they will be unable to motivate employees remotely. Be honest with your staff. Ask them for their concerns and tell them yours. They are adjusting and understand that you are too. Open communication will lead to better team morale and camaraderie.
Arguably the most important aspect of managing a remote team is setting and maintaining clear communication guidelines. Email alone is very unlikely to be a sufficient way of communicating with your team. Remote working can be isolating so ensure that more collaborative technologies are utilised. Phone and video calls make all the difference to both employee motivation and make it easier to get clarification. It can be difficult to get everything you need to across in an email or IM.
Reduce mistakes and miscommunication with clear, concise messages if you are unable to talk ‘face to face’ with your staff. Take a look at our blog on remote working for some more tips.
Every employee is unique and requires a different approach to ensure they are managed successfully. It would be unwise to assume that all members of the team will be able to automatically adjust to working from home. Most will need extra guidance and support to make the transition and to positively adapt. Tailoring a management approach to each employee will get a better result, meaning enhanced performance and productivity.
4) Daily check ins
Checking in with a team daily is the best way to keep channels of communication open. Talk to the whole team, individuals or groups. Encourage them to do the same. Set up daily team meetings to keep everyone on track and on the same page. Start with a few minutes of general chat, see how everyone’s evening was, if they have plans for the weekend. These social check ins are just as important. If someone appears to be struggling, talk to them about it and find solutions.
5) Monitor productivity
This does not mean micromanagement, instead empower employees to make them feel successful and thereby productive. Staff around the globe are not at their desk 50% to 60% of the time.1 The office environment lends itself to many distractions from colleagues, coffee breaks and endless meetings. Studies have found that productivity actually increases with remote working due to fewer of these distractions.
Remember that encouraging employees to work their set hours, not over is very important. If staff are online at 8pm, let them know that this is not expected. This isn’t something they would do in the office and may lead to burnout.
6) Reward, reassure, encourage and support
- Keep all communications open and honest.
- Ensure employees know that they’re valued and appreciated wherever they are in the office or at home.
- Let them know when they did a great job.
- If a member of staff is struggling with the shift to remote working but seems unable to communicate their stress or anxiety, check in with them regularly and listen to their concerns.
It is imperative that organisations provide simple, accessible communication tools and expect (and support) a period of adjustment.2 Tools such as the CloudCall Remote Worker Toolkit enables employees to work seamlessly from home, taking some of the pressure off management. Find out more here or book a demo.