Managing Remote Teams Successfully

Apr 13th, 2020

This is no ordinary moment in time so just letting your team members know that there’s another person they can speak to - when they need to is truly one of the best things you can do for them.

You may have already had some of your team working from home before COVID19 but one or two members working from home, some or even all of the time is a completely different undertaking to all of your team, working from home, all of the time.

And whilst we’ve shared some of the best and our favourite tech tools for managing workflow and tasks we know that’s only one half of what’s required to successfully manage remote teams, with managers concerned about helping teams to maintain balance throughout lockdown.

Start with understanding that all of this is new

Not everyone is used to working from home and especially not under the current circumstances so start with asking everyone in the team what they need to help them get used to the ‘new normal’ there’s lots of ways to keep in touch, keep up morale and more but they won’t suit everyone so talk to your teams find out how they’d like to keep in touch, what works best for them, what they feel their pressure points are going to be and plan from there how best to support them - and don’t forget to include yourself in that planning you’re part of the team too.

Set expectations and encourage balance

Things are different but work still needs to happen and expectations still need to be set which will be different depending on the business but make sure your teams know you trust them to get the work done but that they don’t need to be ‘on’ all of the time, encourage regular breaks and put things in place so you’ll know when they’re unavailable, depending on the responsibilities and needs of your team members consider altering working hours and make sure these are visible across your team and business.

Keep Things Up To Date

Since you can’t just pop your head up and see if someone is at their desk it’s more important than ever that your team know diaries are up to date and that online ways of communicating like Slack of Teams accurately show whether or not someone is online or available, this is something we've done in our own team, keeping slack right up to date whether we're on unch, or just working on a task and need to concentrate. Think about notifications too and encouraging your team to hit that snooze button when they need to remove distractions.

Make use of the processes and technologies available to keep everyone up to date with the progress of projects and work even though it might feel like a tedious admin task it’s more important than ever.

Don’t miss out on one to ones

These are always important but when you don’t see your team members for weeks on end they’re imperative, plus your team is coping with a lot! A change in work environment, the general challenges of lockdown, kids at home - even just the dog getting involved in every Zoom call - it’s a lot, so make these a priority and make sure they’re not just focused on ‘work’ and ‘tasks’ either, not everyone wants to lay their feelings bare but it’s important to keep asking the questions and looking for the signs someone might be struggling.

Keep up traditions

Whether it’s Friday drinks. monthly quiz night or HIIT class, these are the things that keep your team together beyond the work that they do and with technology it’s possible to keep them going. When things feel tough it can be easy to slip into even more social distancing than we’re already doing! So make sure these things still happen even if your team don’t seem up for it, be the cheerleader for these activities and focus on keeping the team morale high.

Just Be There

Be clear that you’re there for your teams, whenever they need you, in the run of a ‘normal’ working week your team may never feel that they need to call on you for things outside of their role but this is no ordinary moment in time so just letting your team members know that there’s another person they can speak to - when they need to is truly one of the best things you can do for them.

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