You Can Manage a Team in The Office, But Can You Manage a Team Remotely?
It’s been two weeks working remotely under my manager during this time of social distancing due to COVID-19. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching my wife manage during this time as well. From both, I have learned and have also questioned: Can you be equally effective managing remotely as you are in the office?
The answer I came up with is: yes. But before I jump into my learnings from them, I will say it’s an uphill battle and I commend the managers that are in the thick of it during this time.
Innovation is key, you must bring your team together like never before. Technology has given us a great fortune to provide means for jobs to still be performed away from the office. The age we live in, technology has shown prominence in the face of social distancing, providing better internet connection, partnering applications and AI that gives employers the confidence that their employees can excel and be productive working from home.
Moving on from technology, let’s get into what I learned from my manager and wife during this work unique time.
Communication at an All-Time High
We cannot expect execution if communication is not being dispersed properly. There is nothing wrong with overly communicating at the beginning, just as long as it doesn't become the norm. That can really annoy employees.
Scheduling calls. Virtual meetings can aid in the process of providing the feedback your team needs and helps you with evaluating their progress on an assignment.
Keeping everyone in the loop of ongoing changes and new news that will affect the company or the employee's job is crucial. Nothing worse than being blindsided on a Tuesday afternoon with job changing news.
A daily check-in wouldn't hurt. One of the hardest things about working from home is the isolation and sense of loneliness. It’s also more intensified considering social distancing. Check-in with your team to see how they are doing outside of their work. Camaraderie should and still be built.
Set The Tone, Manage Expectations
Success can still be measured. There will be difficulties and adjustments during this time working from home. Be empathetic towards these growing pains, but be realistic in the expectations moving forward.
Clearly outline what needs to be done to reach team and individual goals. Over-communicate the deadlines, what needs to be accomplished and what everyone's role should look like. You may not be into handholding, but you may want to be more involved in getting everyone acclimated to this new change.
Technology is Your Best Friend
Luckily technology makes communicating remotely a smooth transition. You can keep everyone engaged while using tools likes Slack API , Zoom, and Trello. These tools will aid in collaborating and make communication quick and efficient; that’s if you have a good WiFi setup at your home.
Empathy and flexibility will go a long way with your team, especially now. Kids are more than likely at home, which will add stress upon your employees that are parents. Confirming a flexible work schedule will add balance and improve productivity and efficiency during the day.
Work hours may change, and that's okay. Trust your team to get their work done in the hours they can work. The trust you give your team now will pay dividends and build better relationships in the long run.