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Many people are now finding themselves trying to fulfil their jobs while working entirely from home. This new working environment creates an additional hurdle that can challenge even the most seasoned of leaders as it is accompanied by increased uncertainty across all areas of life. This is going to be a difficult period for both business and society so it is imperative leaders are able to manage and work with their teams effectively whilst not being in the same room for prolonged periods including looking after their well-being and trying to maintain a positive atmosphere.
Care and compassion
There are going to be increased levels of pressure on everyone in these times so although there is work to be done, it is also important to show compassion to your workforce. This situation will impact everyone differently, both mentally and physically, so showing empathy when communicating with staff demonstrates you are prepared to take the time to understand their situation and act upon their concerns. Creating this atmosphere from the off clearly shows to them that if they are to find themselves showing any signs of illness, they are supported with whatever they need. So, leaders should focus on demonstrating their own strong and positive working ethic, but also showing compassion to all staff and whilst considering how this adjustment may impact them in order to build good working relationships. Check in on them regularly, particularly those who may be living alone.
When working at home it can be easy for work efforts to go unnoticed but make sure to show your appreciation to every member of your team to boost their morale. It can be hard to reward staff when people aren’t interacting, many outlets are closed and surplus money may not be available however there are other ways including a praising email or Zoom meeting, a digital voucher or getting something sent to their address. Even when the traditional methods are not available take time to praise your employees as this will be key in boosting their mental health in particular.
One of the most important aspects to think about when managing remote teams is communication and particularly the fact that not everyone will thrive communicating in the same way. Communication is vital to keeping staff updated as the situation changes and so you are able to be there to support them if they have any problems or might need guidance. With the advancements in technology there are lots of ways to maintain regular contact such as Skype, Zoom and Whatsapp enabling the whole team to communicate as well as one on one interaction. A weekly team briefing is a good idea to discuss plans and strategies for the week, report on the previous week and raise any concerns. Staff will work better when they feel they are being supported and have clear instructions for what is expected of them throughout the week.
The working environment
Some employees may be well versed in working from home so already have all the necessary equipment and processes in place but for others this is a completely new environment and leaders should be on hand to facilitate this adjustment by making sure everyone has the necessary tools. This could involve a phone diversion to the relevant person’s mobile, shared folders in the cloud or a laptop. If everyone has what they need wherever possible, it lessens the impact of the transition.
Allocate work based on people’s strengths
Alongside making sure everyone is fully set up to work from home, to help the team retain high levels of productivity, make sure you are allocating the tasks to each individual’s skill set. Making sure everyone is happy in their roles will help to maintain a positive working atmosphere with tasks completed to a high standard. Or with children at home some people may struggle to complete as much work as they usually would and this too can be accounted for. Similarly, there will always be certain jobs that are not the most favoured but by building on the importance of pulling together as a team to completely all of these too will help to keep the business functioning. Retaining flexibility and working to everyone’s strength will help you to be successful as a remote leader.
Keep all of the above things in mind when trying to manage a team remotely so you can keep the team spirit alive and ensure they know that ongoing support is available to guide them through these times.
Get in touch if you would like help and advice to help home manage your team