When COVID-19 was classified as a global pandemic, many companies decided to have their employees work from home. At first, you thought this might last for a few weeks or even months but more than half a year later, you’ve accepted this as — at least temporarily — the new normal.
Overall, managing a remote team is going pretty well, but you feel like there’s room for improvement. Here’s some advice to help you lead your employees more effectively from afar.
In the office, your team didn’t have much trouble getting on the same page but things are different in a remote setting. Give employees much-needed structure by laying a few ground rules that highlight your expectations. For example, you might create rules outlining work hours, expected email response time, and attendance at virtual staff meetings.
This clearly spells out what you want from employees so there’s no room for interpretation. Eliminating the guesswork will help your team function better remotely.
Working from home has been challenging for many employees — especially those trying to simultaneously care for young children. Compassion and understanding are essential during this difficult time so try to be as flexible as possible. For example, you might allow employees to make their own schedules so they can effectively balance personal and professional obligations.
Your employees might not be physically together right now, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t bond. It’s more important than ever to maintain a strong sense of team so plan virtual events to help people connect. Hold regular virtual happy hours or create a contest and pair employees up to complete it. Pausing work for a moment and putting personal relationships first will help your team reconnect and you’ll see the benefits in the quality of their work.
No doubt, your team was used to dropping by your office when they had a question, concern, or just wanted to check-in. The need for your oversight hasn’t disappeared just because you’re not currently working in the same location. Show employees you’re still here for them by being present from afar. Schedule regular one-on-ones to touch base, try to be available to pick up the phone when an employee calls, and return messages as quickly as possible.
Make Communication a Priority
Effective communication can be a challenge for remote teams. It’s easy for messages to get lost in translation or people to feel disconnected if there’s a lapse in communication. Minimize this by learning how your team prefers to communicate and work from there to create a system that benefits everyone. For example, you might invest in video communication software — i.e., Zoom, Skype, Google — for meetings and require everyone to sign into a chat program during the workday for quick contact.
Need a little help expanding your remote team? Wood Staffing is here to guide your search. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your Northern Indiana/Southern Michigan company!