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Depending on your business, you may have never intended to run a remote team. However, the numerous changes worldwide throughout 2020 have made remote teams a vital part of business success, and managers everywhere are adjusting their skills to adapt. If you're managing a remote team, let's discuss a few tips for effectively managing them from a distance.
Utilize Technology to Stay Engaged
As you manage your team remotely, it's essential to put the power of technology to work for you. It's easy to overbook Zoom meetings and quickly find that everyone feels burned out, even while working from home. Instead, plan essential meetings via video conferencing and use your company's project management tool to stay in touch about ongoing projects. Consider adding emoji and emoticons, as well, to sprinkle a little happiness through the system and interact in the way that everyone is more accustomed to while online. In many cases, this can also help clarify the message, making it easier for everyone to understand.
Bring Remote Questions to Your Team Meetings
If you have employees that have never worked remotely full time, there's a chance that they're having some trouble adjusting to the new normal. Plan to set up a time for questions and answers during your regular team meetings, so that if anyone needs assistance getting coordinated at home, they have a chance to seek help. Also, bring your own questions to the table proactively, and ask if your employees are having any problems with their technology, with their scheduling, or with adjusting to working from home, and present some ways that your team can handle these issues together.
Be Prepared for Flexibility
Most employees are now working from makeshift desks, with many also juggling eldercare or handling full-time schooling for their children. No one assumed we'd be in this situation a year ago. Managers need to understand that some scheduling flexibility may be necessary to get tasks completed. Supporting your employees will help them get things accomplished productively, and often a little flexibility will go a long way in terms of employee loyalty.
Keep Employees Informed
As company policies adjust and change regarding the pandemic, scheduling, time off, and any benefits, it's vital to keep your employees informed. This is especially true if your company will need to adjust COVID-19 policies or make any significant changes.
Point Out Relevant Assistance Resources
In many cases, companies have employee assistance programs in place to help employees handle stressful situations. If your company offers counseling or other benefits through the EAP, or if any additional benefits such as extended PTO time are being offered due to the pandemic, be sure to point these resources out to your employees. They may be being bombarded by information from numerous sources, so highlighting this is often appreciated. Most importantly, keep in mind that although remote, your team is still a team. They're accomplishing the same types of tasks that they were working on while in a physical office space, they're just each safely in their own physical area to do so. Keeping this in mind, and keeping communication at the forefront will help ensure success.