The coronavirus pandemic has changed our daily lives on many levels including how we work. Some companies have seen fit to completely close doors while others are encouraging telecommuting in order to continue work progress and create job security. Working and managing teams remotely introduces a new set of challenges as each team member is given a much wider range of autonomy over their work environment and practices. Having run my own completely virtual company for almost four years, I have found seven tips that help keep my team motivated, productive, and producing the highest quality of work. Here are 7 Tips for Managing Remote Teams During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
1. Set up a Home Office
Your team can only be as organized as you are. Setting up a home office can help increase your focus and organization so you are performing at your best, which means your team has the opportunity to perform at their best. Your home office does not have to be fancy. Just make sure you have all the resources you need in one area. This will limit distractions and keep you focused on getting the job done, instead of searching for a pen.
2. Set Office Hours
Setting office hours not only helps you get your work done in a scheduled amount of time it also lets your team know when you are available. Once your office hours are set, try to keep these hours consistent as much as possible. This will not only help your own productivity, it will also benefit the home-work environment and your team member’s expectations of when you are free to help them if needed.
3. Get the Right Resources to Stay Connected
Having the resources you need to stay in close communication with your team can make all the difference in a remote project running smoothly or tanking. There are many useful tools created specifically for team communication that may be helpful during this time of transition especially if your teams usually work on joint projects. You can get started by checking out apps such as Asana, WhatsApp, Slack, and Facebook Workplace to name a few. No matter how large or small your team is, there is a work communication tool that will fit your needs.
4. Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations is key when working with remote teams. Clear expectations are even more important at this time as your team is still getting used to working at home with less structure. Setting clear expectations around work time, project deadlines, and communication needs will help keep your team productive and on track.
5. Increase Communication
Communication can make or break your remote work environment. As in-person communication is limited it is important to increase other forms of communication in order to relay the same amount of information. Increasing communication may look like calling your team members at the beginning and end of their day. It could look like sending out an email at the end of the week with progress from all of the team’s projects. Whatever you deem fit, find ways to increase the communication level to help everyone feel connected and supported in their work efforts.
Check-in meetings are a great way for both you and your team members to stay updated on projects and get clarity in between formal work reviews. Intentional check-ins serve as a point of contact in remote work situations and can act as your casual drop in around the office. Setting up check-in meetings with your team members individually and within a group can stimulate creativity and create a positive remote work environment. Check-in meetings also add an extra layer of accountability and structure which can be helpful for team members who are new to remote work situations. Click here for 9 Tips to Maximize Work From Home During COVID-19
7. Be Patient
Be patient as you and your team transition to this new at-home work environment. Many people love working at home and just as many people are uncomfortable and unsure of their ability to work in this manner. Remember that there will likely be a learning curve if your team has not been virtual before. Be patient with your team and be patient with yourself. We all make mistakes, but what makes a great leader is the willingness to be humble, learn from our mistakes, and try again.
For work from home resources for your team, click here for 9 Tips to Maximize Work From Home During COVID-19.