The global coronavirus pandemic is forcing organisations to rethink the traditional office setup. According to 2019 data, more than four million workers in the US telecommute. While that only constituted less than four percent of the total workforce, remember that this was during simpler times. Now, working from home seems the only option as the alternative in the middle of lockdowns while the situation remains uncertain.
Most companies think that handling remote teams is a death toll of any organisation. However, the statistics show the opposite. For instance, those who work remotely are more productive and happier. But you still have goals to meet and company culture to maintain, here are some ways in which to do it:
Regular Video Meetings
Regular meetings do not have to be every day, as that can grow tiresome pretty quickly. Face it; nobody likes meetings. For instance, the State of Meetings Report by Doodle revealed that scheduling one for the same of appearances cost US companies $399 billion in 2019.
The goal is to keep in touch with each team members so they are still aligned with the goals. You can set up video 121s, daily water cooler chats, and the company calls to ensure that the communication flows smoothly. But keep meetings short by knowing your agenda and objectives. Be sure to avoid “over-communicating.” Learn to trust your team members that they will do their jobs well.
Focus on Output
When working at home, one of the greatest challenges they will face is getting distracted. Do not think of it as a traditional office anymore where they spend most of their time at their desk. You can’t insist that they practice their usual habits at home.
While you can overlook their daily to-do lists, make sure they understand that you can’t compromise their output. When they meet their goals, quotas, and deadlines, they can use the extra time with their family as they want. When everybody is clear about the objectives, you will not see telecommuting as a setback.
Clear Roles and Responsibilities
More than ever, everybody should be clear about their roles and responsibilities within the team. They are about to make sacrifices, depending on the goal. Sometimes they are asked to do more or sometimes they will do less. But as long as they know their contributions to the project, you would have no problem getting them to perform their tasks.
Open Feedback Culture
If this is your first time to experiment with the working from home arrangement, there’s bound to be some hiccups. Do not impose your will on your team members. The overarching goal is to come up with the most effective method to deliver results in the most convenient way possible. For instance, the situation at home might not be conducive for some workers to be efficient at their jobs. You have to be aware of this so that you can come up with possible alternatives. Solicit their suggestions on how you can make the remote system work for everyone.
Tools to manage Teams:
Since everybody is working from home, take advantage of technology to ensure a smooth workflow. Here are some of the software products that you can use:
- Project management software — The product is a handy tool that allows supervisors to manage teams. It can also be used to rationalize budgets and resources, or for team members to collaborate better to deliver quality output. Among the examples of project management software are Monday, Trello, Jira, and others.
- Time-tracking software (Harvest etc.) — The tool allows you to keep track of when your team members are online and even what they are doing. However, it is a slippery slope. Some employees might not like to be monitored all the time. As such, not all organisations or employees need a time-tracking app.
- Slack — During uncertain times, leaders need to step up their communication with their teams. You need to be very precise with your messaging and instructions. Slack is a communication tool that will ensure nothing is lost in the translation. Install it on your smartphone, and you will always be connected to your teams and even your clients.
- Google Hangouts — It is a great tool where you can initiate video meetings and online conference calls for free. Teams can create their own groups where they discuss every detail of the projects. Individual chats are also allowed, so you can message any of the team members in private. It is already built into your Gmail account, which makes it convenient.
- Know your team — The software asks weekly questions automatically to all team members, from operational style questions to Friday fun questions such as “Did you have a favourite cartoon growing up? It will help you bring your employees together and it is also designed to help managers become better leaders. For instance, the feedback feature will provide them with insight into their management styles and spot areas where they can improve.
Need a helping hand?
For some companies, working from home is an alien territory that they need to navigate. But the good news is that you are not alone. There are best practices available that you can emulate. There are also consultants that you can tap to make the transition easier. Through these difficult times, if you need any further advice on establishing your remote working processes or hiring new remote working resources, contact us today.