Working remotely is nothing new for many teams. What’s new is working remotely under these sorts of conditions. If you’re forced to work remotely through the COVID-19 crisis, it’s essential that you keep everyone on the same page.
4 Tips for Managing Your Remote Team
Most remote teams are constructed strategically and intentionally – often with months of preparation on the front end. But with the unique situation we’re currently facing, many businesses have been forced to form remote teams on the fly – often with just hours or days of advance notice.
The challenges are real, but you don’t have to subscribe to a mentality of failure. Here are some strategic tips you can leverage to efficiently manage your remote team and increase your odds of success during this troubling time.
Create Clear Expectations
Good leaders set the right expectations for the people under their management and influence. During times like these – where you’re unable to be physically present with all of your employees – setting clear expectations is more important than ever.
You need to focus on two categories of expectations, in particular:
- Team expectations. Your team, as a whole, needs to understand what’s expected during this unique time. Address things like work hours, reporting, time tracking, availability, etc. The more you standardize these things, the better.
- Individual expectations. Not every employee needs to be treated the same. While there will be big-picture team expectations, you should also have individual expectations for each team member. Help them set goals – daily, weekly, and monthly – so they have something specific and tangible to reach for.
Proper expectations serve as the foundation of good collaboration and productivity. With these guidelines set in place, execution becomes the primary focus.
Start Each Morning With a Virtual Huddle
You don’t want to burden your team with unnecessary meetings throughout the day. Doing so can slow down their productivity and limit their effectiveness. Having said that, it’s highly recommended that you start each morning with a virtual huddle.
A virtual huddle should last no more than 15 minutes. It’s a chance to gather together and clearly outline your goals for the team over the next 8 to 10 hours. It helps set the tone for the day and lowers the chances of having anything important slip through the cracks.
Use the Right Collaboration Tools
Good, clear collaboration is paramount to successful remote team management. If you study the teams that thrive with remote setups, you’ll find that they all have efficient communication processes in place.
Good communication starts with the proper technology stack. While there are lots of options to choose from, consider using a digital workplace platform to organize your efforts and keep everyone on the same page.
Communicate a Degree of Trust
It’s natural to feel the urge to micromanage in a situation like this. And while there may be certain team members and projects that you need to stay on top of, resist becoming too overbearing and nit-picky.
This is your chance to show your employees that you trust them. You don’t need to put a camera on them and make sure they’re sitting at their desk for eight hours every day. Be understanding of the unique circumstances and let them figure out a way to balance work with personal life in a productive manner. This will benefit your relationship over the long haul.
Flip Your Mentality
You might not have planned for this to happen, but there are still lessons to be learned from this situation. Stop viewing it as a disaster and start seeing it as an opportunity.
Think about this situation from a future vantage point. When you look back in six or nine months from now, what do you want to have learned?
Use this is an opportunity to study remote work and determine how you can better manage employees who aren’t physically present in the office.
Use this as an opportunity to invest in your team and show them that you care for them in both professional and personal ways.
Use this as an opportunity to grow your skillset, train your staff, and reshape your corporate culture.
When you see this as an opportunity, everything changes. There may be troubling times ahead, but at least you’ll have used your time wisely and proactively invested in the future of your business.