With the Covid-19 epidemic, many employees are finding themselves working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time. As a manager, you have to manage a completely remote team but how do you do with those employees that have never experienced the remote work?
Well, here’s Inlea’s guide that will teach you everything you need to know in order to lead your new remote-work team to success:
Resource your team: Make sure your team has the technology it needs to get the work done. If you suddenly have a team of remote workers, that means there’s a good chance they need tools like laptops, software, mobile devices, or even a high-speed internet connection. It’s not reasonable to assume that everyone has all of those things, and it’s your responsibility as a manager to make sure they do.
Provide several different communication technology options: Email alone is insufficient. Remote workers benefit from having a richer technology, such as video conferencing, that gives participants many of the visual cues that they would have if they were face-to-face.
Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for smaller groups: Visual cues allow for increased mutual knowledge about coworkers and also help reduce the sense of isolation among teams. Video is also particularly useful for complex or sensitive conversations, as it feels more personal than written or audio-only communication.
Set clear expectations: Everyone has a different idea of what doing something “quickly” or “well” means. Whether showing examples of what you expect to be done, calendar sharing, etc., make sure you have clear expectations from those you work with online. The more prepared they are, the better they can serve.
Have a daily check-in: Whenever possible, this should be one-on-one, and face-to-face via video. Phone conversations, email, and Slack go only so far. Your team needs to see you, and you need to see them. The good news is that services like Zoom or Google’s Team Hangouts make this relatively easy. At first, this should be every day. The purpose is simple, set the agenda and provide the feedback and resources your team members need.
Offer encouragement and emotional support: A sudden shift from office to remote work can be very stressful. Every good manager should acknowledge that and listen to employees’ anxieties and struggles. A simple “How are you doing today?” type of question can go a long way with an employee who is struggling but withdrawing from communication. Ask them if they are feeling comfortable working from home, and let them know that you are there to help with any concerns that they may have. Let the employee’s stress be the focus of the conversation.
We’ll add our own note of encouragement to managers facing remote work for the first time: you’ve got this. Let us know in the comments your own tips for managing your remote employees.