Remote working in 2021 has become the “new norm” for many of us. However, for managers, the concept of managing their remote teams still brings the usual challenges, but also new challenges especially as the Covid crisis continues to deepen.
You may have all the experience in the world working and managing your team within the constraints of an office, but sometimes other competencies and skills are required for successful remote working. It is for these reasons we have put together five helpful tips that may help you and extend beyond just ‘holding a weekly call with your immediate team’.
1. Focus on your team outcomes and not activity
It can be tempting to try and manage every aspect of your team’s work and focus just on their hours. Instead, however, focus on bringing clarity to your team’s projects and the tasks within those projects ensuring all goals are SMART. This approach will do a couple of things: help maintain the team’s motivation and give them the satisfaction of crossing off tasks on their ‘to-do’ list as they are completed – which we all love doing. By leading your team in this manner you can easily monitor the progress and outcomes of your team’s efforts and take action accordingly, be it train, coach, or praise.
There are lots of software tools available that allow you to create and manage your own projects. These tools can allow you to assign tasks to your team members and track the progress of their activities. Mantle is also great for doing this!
2. Give your team the relevant resources
Giving your team the tools to work from home is a necessity. The first step is to provide them with the necessary technology: laptops and appropriate software tools, but there are other things needed too. Setting your team up with the right tools means you are setting them up for success.
3. Take advantage of technology
One of the biggest issues when transitioning to working remotely is the risk of losing part of the company culture. Working alone and remotely can make it difficult to stay in touch and maintain the atmosphere and company culture that existed when everyone was in the office. Luckily, you have many tools such as Google Meet and Zoom at your fingertips which can make a big difference.
It’s already accepted that holding weekly calls can help keep everyone stay updated with each other’s progress and company projects, but weekly calls can be drawn out, laboured and very quickly they can become something that your team would rather not do! There is no rule against having a 1:1 call to simply just catch up and have a chat. You could also hold a weekly quiz on a Friday afternoon to boost spirits and have some fun after a long week.
Another great way to keep your company culture and team spirit alive and kicking is to create a weekly or monthly newsletter. There are great tools like MailChimp that will enable you to create eye-catching and exciting newsletters to send to your team. The secret is to make it fun, engaging, and share colleague successes as well as business updates.
4. Share information and encourage your team to do the same
Working with your team within the confines of an office makes it really easy to keep everyone up to date with project progress and other news. However, without the typical water-cooler conversations between colleagues, the opportunities to pick up extra news and social bits become very limited.
When working remotely, it becomes even more important that you and your remote team keep each other updated on all of your work-streams and any other important news. Online tools such as Asana can help you in this area. Our own software tool ‘Mantle’ can also allow you to track the progress of both you and your team’s workstreams and will also show you how this impacts your objectives over time. Keeping a close track of all activities should ensure no matters are missed and that your team stays well briefed and consequently well engaged.
5. Remind your team of the bigger picture
When working from home without your team around you, it can be very easy to lose focus on what you are doing and more importantly, forgetting the ‘why we are doing what we’re doing’. Always keep the company’s strategic intent and top operational goals upfront in your team’s minds and always explain simply and clearly how their workstream makes a difference to the company’s success.