Currently working from home or remote working has become more than a trend. It is now a necessity for businesses all across the globe. As a result, there are thousands of team leaders and managers who find themselves suddenly managing an entirely remote team. This can be a daunting time, especially if it’s not something you’ve had to deal with before.
Although our business is well suited to remote working we have had to adapt quickly and learn what works best for us to keep everyone in our team happy and motivated at a difficult time. I’ve highlighted in this article 6 key factors that are helping us to work separately, but still very much together:
1. Regular check-ins
Whenever possible, this should be one-on-one, and face-to-face via video. Phone conversations and email are great but only go so far. Your team needs to see you, and you need to see them. The good news is that services like Microsoft Office Teams, Zoom or WhatsApp make this relatively easy. It also means you can make sure everyone is dressed and not in their PJs all day, I don’t know about you but I can’t work unless I’m showered, dressed and hair done!
2. Communicate a lot
It probably goes without saying that you should be in regular communication with your team. Our business is defined by the characters and personalities within it, so it’s important to continue the communication as much as possible. We feel this is just as important for checking in on morale and general well-being at this current time, as it is for communication on projects.
3. Take advantage of technology
It’s more important than ever to keep your team connected. Luckily, all our services are cloud based, so working remotely is not a distraction to our output. We use Basecamp for project management and scheduling, and communicate via Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom, as well as via e-mail and WhatsApp.
If there are areas of your business in which you still need to move over to cloud, now is the time to do this. Our IT client Elite Group (formerly MWL Systems) are amazing. It is certainly worth giving them a call if your business needs help getting set up remotely – https://www.mwlsystems.co.uk/
4. Manage expectations
This is always important in business but when people are working alone, it’s even more crucial to ensure they are clear as to what is expected of them, along with clear and agreed deadlines, processes and deliverables. This will help to ensure there are no surprises in a few weeks’ time when you find yourself wondering what everyone was doing. Which brings us onto …
5. Focus on outcomes, not activity
It is virtually impossible to manage and oversee every aspect of your team’s activity, nor should you want or need to. Especially when working remotely, it’s important that each team member clearly understands their responsibilities and is focused on delivery.
Now is not a time to worry about how many hours work have been completed in a day, if the work is getting done and the projects and tasks are being completed to the expected standard within an agreed timescale that is more important.
6. Be flexible
It is vital to understand that your team will have a lot going on outside of work right now and are likely to be feeling unsettled by every news update they hear or read. Now is not the time to expect people to sit at their desks for 8 hours straight, especially if you employ people with children. They may be balancing home schooling and prefer to work a few extra hours in the evening or over the weekend to catch up.
Although it’s important that the work is being done, you need to be flexible with working hours. And hopefully, your team members will return this flexibility should a client request come in after ‘standard working hours’. For now, we need to forget standard working hours, as they have gone out of the window, and perhaps that’s a good thing for everyone.
We’d love to hear what’s working for you whilst managing or working within a remote team. Good luck with it all, we are looking forward to seeing your lovely faces in person soon!