A Manager's Guide to Remote Teams
Project management consultants are many, but talent management solutions are a matter of organizations investing in providing their workforce with a seamless employee experience. Due to the current situation, where a majority of the global workforce is working remotely, how do organizations ensure that their employees experience a positive work environment, virtually, as well as remotely?
Over and above of driving online engagement, organizations need to invest in culture building to ensure continuous and voluntary brand advocacy. Besides, teams across geographies should continue to be aligned with the organization’s vision and goals. Thus, managers need to be sensitized and educated to understand the situations that their team members are facing and step-in to provide effective solutions as a co-worker, rather than a ‘Boss’.
But how do organizations ensure that managers also know what to look out for?
Leverage Technology, but Also Track the Stress Points
A recent study by Forbes reported that the more burnout you face from screen time fatigue, the lesser productive at work you get.
With the feature of accessing each other’s calendars, one can easily schedule a meeting invite. However, if you see multiple invites lined up for a peer in a day and your brainstorming session will be equally long (but can be postponed); allow your peer some breathing space to detox from technology.
Be Empathetic In Your Actions and Words
Be open and transparent in your communications. Accept that fact that connecting over video calls will not have the same impact as a team huddle, in person. But also ensure that you make positive recommendations as opposed to critical assumptions. As a leader, the onus of fostering collaboration and creating opportunities for team bonding activities to happen (even virtually), lies on you.
Be a Supportive Mentor and a Constant Learner
Social isolation is one of the biggest drawbacks of remote working. One that can majorly be addressed with a strong internal communication strategy. Make the most of technology but also, avoid over-burdening your team or micromanaging. Giving relevant feedback as a recommendation, as well as giving it on time is important. But what will make a difference, is to rope in your teams in the process of decision making. Not only will it make them feel inclusive and valued, but will also give you a clear picture of what are the team’s strengths that can be built upon.
Learn to Introspect and Delegate
One of the most important aspects of managing remote teams is to ensure that you have enough resources to meet delivery timelines and each one has equal work to keep them occupied. This is where setting clear expectations plays a major part. Nurture an agile mindset in your decision-making to equip your team to grow, and channelize their efforts towards building a flexible, yet, result-oriented attitude.
Cultivate a Culture Of Appreciation
Time and again, rewards and recognitions have played a major role in boosting employee morale. This is the perfect time to re-enforce and encourage your team members to respect as well as value one another’s efforts. Be it a gesture as simple as helping each other cull out resources for a project, or something as elaborate as filling in for one another when one has to take an emergency medical leave. An attitude of gratitude is what will take the team as well as the organization, places.
Last, but not the Least, Draw the Line
It’s not just Zoom that is causing the everyday work fatigue to rise. It’s the lack of a boundary that builds a correlation between employee well-being and employee productivity. Lead by example – Prepare an everyday check-in schedule and ensure that you don’t work longer hours. Your team will follow your footsteps when they see you living what you preach.
However, the most integral aspect of managing remote teams remains - HAVE FUN! Connect beyond work hours to discuss how things are progressing on the personal front. Schedule for a random online social or house-party and watch a movie ‘virtually together’. For larger teams spread across geographies, managers may not be able to organize collective meetups. That’s where setting up of periodic one-on-ones and assigning ‘work buddies’ helps. Smaller initiatives that helps peers keep each other engaged as well as focused.
Despite the distance and the lack of physical interactions, keeping a team together is no small feat. Give yourself credit for putting in equal efforts and strive towards achieving engagement in your teams, so that together, you can set an example to the rest of the organization.