Does COVID-19 find you and your employees logging on instead of walking in?
Morning small talk over coffee, office conversations, and team meetings in the conference room. All part of a typical workday, and things you didn’t realize you were taking for granted until you ended up in your home office, on the couch with a laptop, or perhaps at the kitchen table surrounded by kids, crumbs, and distractions.
Managing a remote team is rewarding, but comes with its challenges. Some of us have been on the ‘work from home’ train for a while, but for those of you newbies, have no fear! With the ever-growing list of productivity-boosting options online and a few practical tips - you too can successfully manage your team. What are some tips and tricks for managing a remote team, you ask? Let’s take a look:
1. First things first, provide your team with the proper equipment. What cords do they need? Are dual monitors helpful for productivity? What about headsets? You may not be able to provide them with a hot cup of coffee, but you can enable them to do their job.
2. Manage expectations. Are there core work hours, or does working from home lend a bit more flexibility? How will meetings change? What do you expect from your team in terms of communication?
… which leads us to…
3. Improve your communication skills. Have more one-on-one conversations via phone or video conference. Send more detailed emails. You won’t be able to say “swing by for a moment” for a conversation better had in person, so make sure to get your point across professionally, in full detail, and with clarity. Check-in with your direct reports often to see how things are going and how you can best support them.
…as well as…
4. Amp up your communication. Take a look at options for video, chat or project management software. Try out new tools* and be open to new methods. A quick search for “online communication tools” will give you an extensive amount of options (most being free!) to utilize internally and externally.
* and test them out prior to use!
...with those new tools…
5. Have an avenue for “water-cooler” conversations and help break up the monotony of the workday. Get creative with this one! Perhaps you create a chat room for non-work-related conversations, or maybe you’re the type to send out a joke of the day (perhaps via a site message on your VAIRKKO dashboard, hint, hint.) Your company extroverts will appreciate the effort.
As you navigate your new normal, know that there will be hiccups, but productivity is possible. If you didn’t notice, communication is key! Figure out what works best for your team. Leverage your strengths, do your research, gather feedback and be okay with some initial trial and error.
You may be surprised by the results.