Top 5 tips for managing remote workers
Tip 1: Establish new ground rules for communication
As soon as possible agree with your team how you will work together effectively in this new virtual environment. Agree as a team which method; (email, instant messaging, text, phone, video, Teams etc.) you will use for the various types of interaction you need to have over the coming weeks and the frequency of this e.g. daily, every couple of days. As an added tip, for conversations involving heightened emotions, (either positive or negative), commit to avoiding email and conveying your message with voice and face instead.
Tip 2: Be clear on roles, goals and outcomes
Working virtually can feel more confusing and unpredictable than working in an office. Keep productivity and performance high by giving crystal clear direction to your team on objectives and outcomes, so that they understand what’s expected and are able to work independently, or more likely - interdependently. Feelings of uncertainty will be trickier for you to detect in the virtual world, so ensure you check-in regularly with your team, help them see how their activities can be carried out in new ways, and ensure they know how to remotely access the resources they need to do their jobs from home.
Tip 3: Stay regularly connected
Humans are wired to socially connect. So, having remote working suddenly enforced could leave many experiencing negative feelings of loneliness. Stay in touch with team members regularly and informally, (not just to check on work progress) and encourage them to do the same with each other. Face-to-face interaction can never be replaced, so use video calling, where facial expression and body language continues to feature, as the next best thing for achieving a sense of connection.
Tip 4: Don’t lose the human touch
Many will become increasingly anxious over the weeks to come. Be proactive in reaching out to your team, actively listening to them and showing them compassion. Virtual working can sometimes feel a bit transactional and soulless, with team members only contacting each other for a scheduled call or when they desperately need a question answered. Use of emojis can help but they only go so far in conveying what’s really on our minds! :-) Dial up the human touch by making personal time for others. Make sure your team’s efforts don’t go unnoticed or unrecognised and let them know that just because they may be out of sight, they’re certainly not out of mind.
Tip 5: Embrace the opportunity that home working brings
Despite the tough challenges that this period will bring, offset these where possible by promoting autonomy and flexibility for your team. Show them that you trust them to deliver their goals in their own way, and in doing so, you may just help them grow and achieve more, for themselves and for you, in the process!
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