Businesses up and down the country have been dealing with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) for nearly two years since this blog post was first written in March 2020.
Those unfamiliar with managing remote and hybrid workers have had to adjust quickly to managing teams and individuals either working from home or in self-isolation.
Here are our top tips on how to support your remote teams:
This is an unusual work situation for everyone so establishing goals and identifying potential barriers early on is important. Start with frequent and predictable communication patterns – because people respond to remote working differently. Frequent communication will help to establish trust and develop good remote working practices. Predictable communication makes people feel ‘closer’ to each other.
Over time you’ll probably be able to reduce the frequency but expect to communicate more often than you would normally. Think about how you want this to happen and how often. Get agreement on the normal working hours for the team and how people will know if others are unavailable. If a daily team meeting first thing is the norm, replicate it using technology instead. This will set the pattern for you and the team going forward.
Be savvy with technology
Use remote working as an opportunity to think through how to get the best use out of tech. Many people experience problems with connectivity or phone reception at home while a recent study cited that many remote workers would feel more productive if they were trained to use tools such as instant messaging, video conference and shared documents. Ask your IT department for technical help ASAP and encourage workers to get in touch with their service providers if connectivity is poor.
Use technology to keep in touch by making a point of saying good morning and sharing a virtual cuppa on the messenger. Dial people into office meetings and leaving dos, use tech for regular meetings over Skype or Teams. This helps you see when members are online and can be disturbed for work collaborations etc. To minimise disruption, check ahead for events like training and consider delivering remotely by webinar.
Remote workers don’t need micro-managing. Just because they are out of sight, doesn’t mean they aren’t working the same way they normally do. Be clear on what you’re expecting. The clearer you can be on what you want, the easier it will be for everyone.
This is for both parties’ sake. Remote working doesn’t always go smoothly, either for you or your co-worker. Keep checking-in and be ready to talk honestly about what’s working and what’s not. Diarise regular check-ins so the opportunity to talk is front of mind.
Make it personal
Use the first few minutes of a catch up to ask about their weekend or other personal news. Keep them in mind and remember to ask them about their health, not just their work. Remember, they or their loved ones might be ill, distressed or frustrated by the situation. Make time for the whole team to socialise with an end of the week get together and make a point of recognising success by celebrating individual achievements with the whole team.