For the majority of the companies worldwide working from home is the only option during the Covid-19 quarantine period. Fortunately, modern technologies make it possible for managers to administer the team and all the work remotely without great effort and expenditures. We want to provide you with a brief guide on how you can manage your team remotely in an efficient way.
Firstly, it is good to understand what challenges can the remote working cause for both managers and employees:
Lack of live supervision
Both managers and employees can express concerns about the lack of face-to-face interaction. Managers can worry about the productivity and willingness of employees to work. The remote workers in term can struggle with reduced access to managerial support and communication.
Newly remoted workers need time and effort to adjust information and get used to new settings. Even simple requirements can appear to be difficult tasks when working in a home setting. This can cause an interpersonal challenge among remote co-workers. Lack of mutual knowledge about the team members can eventually convert to a lower willingness to understand each other.
The feeling of loneliness is one of the main drawbacks of remote working. Lack of informal social interaction with colleagues can reduce an employee’s feeling of “belonging” to the organization. This in term can increase the likelihood of the worker’s decision to leave the company.
Distractions at home
In case of a sudden transition to the remote work, employees have a greater chance to bare unexpected family responsibilities. Managers should understand that this kind of distraction is greater during the unplanned transition of work to home settings.
So how can managers support remote workers?
Managers can take some inexpensive and instant actions to make the transition easier for employees and reduce the chance of decline in productivity:
Establish structured daily check-ins:
Daily one-by-one or team call is a regular and predictable form of communication that allows employees to consult with the manager, ask real-time questions and express concerns.
Provide different communication options:
Richer technology benefits remote workers. For example, video conferences are especially helpful for the visual cues that allow for better mutual knowledge. Face-to-face conversations help team members to discuss the work, ongoing news, personal concerns and therefore, reduce the feeling of isolation.
However, it is better to use message platforms (like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) for the cases when quick collaboration is more important than the visual aspect. They benefit time-sensitive communication and make the conversations simpler and less formal.
Set “rules of engagement”:
Regulations of the engagement frequency help workers to stay more productive and satisfied. While some alternatives may be better than others, all employees must agree on the set of expectations for communication.
Offer encouragement and emotional support:
Especially in the context of today’s situation, managers need to acknowledge stress, anxieties and concerns that can be experienced by employees. It is good for a manager not only to frequently ask for the opinion and feelings of the remote workers but also to listen carefully to the response. The employee’s stress or concerns should stay the focus of this kind of conversation. With this support, employees are more likely to cope with the challenge and dedicate a better focus on work and productivity.