Managing a team of professionals has never been easy, but remote working has completely changed the playing field. Try these tips to provide a stable and compassionate digital working environment for any remote team.
Provide Task Lists
The main benefits of an in-office working environment are structure and stability. Employees know when they’re supposed to clock in, what tasks they’re supposed to accomplish, and where to find important files or tools.
When working from home, many of these structural elements are unavailable or difficult to access. Employees may find themselves lost and unsure of which tasks need to be accomplished next. Even if one employee stays on track, the team might not be as synchronized as when they were only a few desks away from each other.
An easy solution to this problem is to provide a succinct list of the tasks that need to be prioritized at the start of each day. This is most easily done over email, but project management software can also be used. The important thing is that all team members start their day knowing exactly what needs to be done.
Office environments thrive on steady communication. From team meetings to quick project check-ins, teams stay in touch by walking over to each other’s desks and talking. Remote working removes this possibility, and team communication can become stagnant as a result.
Managers can help facilitate communication by creating a clear standard for the new remote working environment. Decide how often to conduct virtual team meetings. Then, provide a method for more urgent communication; text messaging and instant messaging are both excellent options.
Teams are best led by example, so be sure to use communication methods according to the standards that have been laid out. Don’t make unnecessary phone calls, but do be available to answer team member’s questions. Pay attention to how the remote environment evolves as all team members start to become comfortable with digital interaction.
Remote work is not quite like office work. Home environments are full of distractions, which means that a steady flow of work during normal hours might not always be a possibility. Beyond this, there are plenty of issues that may occur during a pandemic which can disrupt work as normal.
Managers can’t predict all of these occurrences, but they do have the power to provide real flexibility. Be willing to work with team members on their schedules; if evenings have fewer distractions, then evenings might be a better time for the work to get done. Schedule projects in advance of the actual deadline in case an extension is needed. In general, look for solutions that help employees while still allowing the business to provide exceptional customer service.
Being a supportive manager requires foresight and compassion. As the digital working environment evolves, don’t lose sight of what’s actually important: caring for staff and getting the work done.