As we face uncertainty in the wake of this global health crisis, I have heard from hundreds of business owners who are moving their entire workforce toward remote work. While it’s ultimately important for the safety of employees and customers, executives everywhere are left with the monumental task of managing a fully remote team while keeping their employees energized and engaged.
Fortunately, there are opportunities hidden amongst the chaos that can help businesses connect more and come out stronger on the other side. The best remote teams are becoming increasingly productive and creative (I’ve seen my fair share of hilarious digital backgrounds on video chats this week). Here are things that some of the most effective remote managers are doing to make the best of the situation:
Avoid Too Much Change: Keep current processes and meetings in place – now is not the time to bring in the unfamiliar or inundate people with too many transitions at the same time. That could backfire and lead to more confusion and unexpected downtime. The one change worth making is when you can add tools that help keep communication and execution as consistent as possible and empower your teams to adjust seamlessly to remote working without having to learn new processes.
Be Supportive: As this health crisis unfolds and impacts the economy, realize that everyone has a lot of different stressors, ranging from work to personal issues. Make sure to check in and take care of employees and teammates. Ask how they are doing, and have compassion for any anxiety or fear your team is experiencing. As CEO, I personally reach out to at least ten remote team members each day to see how they’re feeling and if there’s anything I can do, and I encourage others to do the same.
Put Extra Effort into Positive Work Culture: Working remotely can make it harder for teams to celebrate success together. To help maintain a positive and celebratory culture, create virtual prizes, like digital gift cards, to reward good performance. This extra effort shows your employees you care while providing the added benefit of incentives to get teams to stay productive and highlight their great work.
Meet Regularly (Over Video): This is another collaboration/communication tactic, but it’s important to ramp up interaction with team members in order to ensure everyone stays engaged and informed. With remote work, video meetings work best as it allows teams to keep in better contact as if they were still seeing each other in the office.
Maintain Accountability by Setting Clear Goals: Transitioning to remote work, as an entire team or company, can make people feel more fragmented and separated from their peers. A great way to combat this is for management and team leaders to be available to their teams and provide transparency wherever possible. Managers who make time for employees are better able to foster an atmosphere where everyone feels safe and supported.
Nothing can replace face to face connections, but you can still maintain and even grow meaningful relationships with your team and your customers through shared stories and experience. With the right adjustments, your business can not only weather this storm but can actually develop key processes that enable you to come out stronger on the other side.