The widespread COVID-19 pandemic has turned 2020 upside down. With many sick, School closures, Airports shut, and the world locking itself down our normal 9-5 routine has dramatically changed. Globally there has been changes to the way people can live and work. Specifically, in Melbourne we are currently in a Stage 4 lockdown meaning we are still only allowed to work from Home, unless you are a permitted worker. If you are a permitted workplace and can remain open, there are new health and safety measures you need to set in place. Covid safe plans are necessities for all Australian businesses in order to maintain an environment that is hygienic and safe to work in.
The safest place to be is in your home. Therefore, many businesses now are effectively working remotely although this does come with its challenges.
Today our blog is solely focused on helping you manage your remote teams in the best way possible. Incorporating these tips into your everyday working from home life can help make things for both you and your staff a little easier.
Ten Tips on Managing and leading Remote Teams
Daily Check Ins
These daily check ins are best done in the morning but organise a time that works best for all your team. These catch ups are a great time to discuss any non-urgent issues as well as allow staff to ask any questions they may have about what they should be doing today. Here at Husset we do daily morning check ins. They are a great way to catch up in the morning and clarify everyone’s daily and weekly tasks they have set out to do. These check ins help keep all the team on the same page encouraging teamwork and productivity. Make sure these chats are not all that formal, ask your team how their weekend was or what they did last night, keep it a bit light-hearted just as you would catching up with each other at work.
Encourage Regular Breaks
Just as you would in the office, make sure your employees are taking their regular breaks. A break will reduce your teams’ mental fatigue, help to boost brain function and increase their productivity. Working from home may encourage your employees to eat and work at their desk, make sure to remind them not to do this!
Since you are no longer working next to your team you can no longer physically see if they are working hard on their daily work tasks. Make sure you are not micromanaging them! Trust in your team that they can remain concentrated and stick to what they need to do.
Communication (but find the balance)
Again, this is an important aspect when it comes to avoiding micromanaging. Leaving clear and consistent communication channels open for you and all your employees will help make them feel supported. However, try not to smother them with to much constant communication! Let your employees work at a pace that suits them to avoid any further stress. A great time to ask them any questions is during your daily morning check ins, otherwise if its urgent give them a quick call then allow them to get back to their work.
In the current climate there is a lot of uncertainty regarding job losses, economy effects and businesses closing. Keep your employees up to date with any new updates. Be honest with them always. Keeping everyone well informed will eliminate any sense of isolation or loneliness, it will also help to unite the team and build connectedness.
Every person no matter what their situation is dealing with this pandemic differently. It will be a lot harder for some and a lot easier for others. Make sure you remember this and show them support! Remind them that you are ready to answer any questions or concerns they have. Lend an ear or a helping hand when they are struggling no matter if its work related or not. This is a time we all need to stick together!
Sufficient home workspaces (technology and tools)
Make sure all your team has the tools they need in order to get the job done! Supply your team with any equipment they will need like laptop, computers, network router, keyboard etc. An effective working space will give them a better ability to perform their job at a higher level even from home. All employees should have a safe space to work from with a high-quality chair and back support. This is vital when complying with occupational health and safety even from your own home.
Each staff member has different issues they may be dealing with while they are working from home. Some parents are home schooling their kids meaning they will need more flexibility with working hours. Try as best as you can to adjust and conform to the changed hours they will need to have. If you don’t allow flexibility in the current circumstances it will only create more stress and difficulty.
Set clear expectations
Your employees should know what you expect from them, this is the same whilst working from home. You should expect your employees to always be honest and true to their word. If they are struggling, make sure they know to tell you so you can offer guidance and assistance. Your employees should be completing the daily or weekly tasks they set out in the time frame given. They need to prioritise their work over other tasks they might need to do at home such as the washing, cooking or cleaning.
If necessary, make a list or send an email reminder of what you do expect of your employees during this period, they can also send a list of expectations they need from you.
Keep Up Regular Feedback
During isolation it is still vital that you are still doing your employee performance reviews and regular catch ups, virtually. As discussed in our how to complete performance review blog we believe in avoiding the single yearly performance review and instead incorporate quarterly or monthly catch ups.
Working remotely may raise employee questions of whether they are performing at a high standard, the feedback given at these monthly or quarterly catchups will help reassure them and demonstrate that you are recognising their hard work. If you have noticed an employee that seems to be struggling this kind of coaching is a great way to offer your guidance and work on a resolution avoiding any further performance issues.
Learn for the future
This year has been a great way to learn and adjust to what life throws at us. Learning to adapt and change to abide by restrictions has been a great way to learn for the future. A lot of us now know how to effectively work from home meaning this could pave the way for a new business demographic. Remember how your business dealt with the changes and learn from this, creating better efficiency to change in the future.
Benefits of Effectively Managing Remote Teams
Properly managing your team while they work remotely has an immense effect on your business. Not only will productivity and staff morale be high, but team connectedness will be strong helping staff feel supported. We are in uncertain times so providing a solid team foundation will benefit both you and your employees!
Relationship Between Positive Employee Attitudes and Culture
There is a huge correlation between positive employee attitudes and your overall workplace culture. An organisations workplace culture is the shared values, beliefs and attitudes of management and employees. As a manager you have a huge role to play when creating a positive workplace culture, even while working from home. If your employees feel happy, supported and connected it will result in better employee attitudes, in turn improving the overall corporate culture.
Virtually implementing ways of maintaining your organisations team activities will be a great way to keep up the corporate culture whilst working remotely. As discussed in our “Keeping your team connected in isolation” blog there are a few fun ways of doing this. Having some fun at the end of the week with your team will improve the overall mood and encourage some enjoyment outside of work.
Things to Consider when Managing a Remote team
- Ask employees if they are happy or if you can provide additional support. How can you business better serve its team
- Share your calendar to team members know their leader is available
- Tell them that it’s fine to experience down feelings every now and then
- Understand that each employee is different and they all will be dealing with the current circumstances in numerous ways
- Use tools for video communication to keep communication channels open
Each business will adapt and work from home differently. These suggestions are just a few ways to make your working from home life a bit more efficient and effective.
For more information on working from home check out our other blog posts here.