Five Tips for Leading a Remote Team
Many of us have found ourselves thrown from our offices and daily commutes to managing working life in tandem with Shelter In Place laws. As once bustling offices move to remote work, it can be difficult to bridge the transition smoothly, keep communication up and ensure productivity does not drop. Here are a few tips for ensuring your team is as successful as possible during this time.
- Talk about accessibility.
Do all of your employees have functional laptops? Are they outfitted with the best wifi, or are they using a hotspot from their phone in a highly trafficked area? Talk about what kind of computers, if any, your employees have. Older models may run more slowly, causing delays in projects. PC to Mac differences can cause errors in translating documents and formatting. Knowing these things in advance can help everyone to understand that some errors may simply be attributed to technology problems, and to come up with solutions. It can help you to understand who may need assistance to work remotely as effectively as possible
2. Go digital for workflow management.
There are many programs to help keep productivity up and to manage workflow. We use programs like Monday.com to keep projects organized. Programs like these are essential during remote working. This way, deadlines can be set and you can stay up to date on the progress each project is making. While you may used to have created meetings to go over tasks and deliverables, now much of this conversation can be cut down on by making sure your tasks are up-to-date online.
3. Touch base.
Now that you’ve made sure everyone has access to the internet and has the technology necessary to complete their job, touching base via programs like Skype or Zoom can be essential. Programs like Slack can also help with quick chatting throughout the day, just like you would be able to do if you were in-office. Scheduled times to check in, especially through video, provides similar structure to the day and gives face time which is essential. Any issues or roadblocks that could not be handled over workflow programs can be handled during these calls.
4. Understand that life happens.
If you find that your teammates have large families, young children or relatives they care for, working from home can be complicated and may require more flexibility. It can be easier to lose focus. Trust that your team is still getting in their hours – it just may be a little earlier or later than normal. Have a conversation letting employees know that to communicate if something comes up, and that they will be met with understanding and flexibility. This opens the door to communicate about potential concerns and allows the team to help one another ensure deadlines are still met.
5. Keep it lighthearted.
No one planned for remote working, limited social interaction and waiting in lines at grocery stores. Try to keep the tone the same as it was in the office. Sharing funny videos with one another, messaging each other jokes or checking up on how the office plants are doing are simple ways to keep things casual. Remove the focus from negativity, news updates or illness.
While moving into uncharted territory for businesses, the most important thing your team can do is stay connected and emphasize that you truly are a team, taking on challenges together and understanding that additional roadblocks may arise due to the nature of working at home, with family, pets and/or roommates.