With the ongoing global pandemic, millions of people have found themselves forced to work remotely, using their homes as temporary offices while unable to commute and share professional spaces with colleagues as usual.
Some experts even expect that this change will be permanent, with employees realizing the value of the improved flexibility that remote working affords them.
With this being the case, what tactics and tools can managers deploy to make it easier to effectively steward teams that are geographically dispersed?
Communicate efficiently with software solutions
Even with team members working from remote locations, meetings remain an important aspect of ensuring that everyone is able to be as productive as possible.
There are various tools available to facilitate remote meetings, with top options like Skype and Zoom getting a lot of attention during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, it is also important to remember that efficiency is often achieved by streamlining communications and that cutting down on meetings can actually be the best option.
This is where a business-oriented IM platform like Slack can come into play, especially since you can use third party Slack standup bots to both host meetings and also provide a way to log progress, provide updates and make communication more fluid over the course of the working day.
Keep goals in mind and ignore the temptation to micromanage
In a remote working scenario, team managers may feel that it is their responsibility to make sure that every member is adhering rigorously to their responsibilities, particularly in terms of how many hours they are logged in and active while working remotely.
However, this can lead to much more stress and hassle than it is worth, when in reality all you really need to worry about is whether or not deadlines are being hit, goals achieved and progress made. It does not matter if there are some blips in an employee’s activity levels, so long as they are making a valuable contribution.
Overcome tech limitations
Effective remote working is entirely reliant on each team member having the necessary hardware and networking resources at their disposal to do their jobs and communicate with others unhindered. As a manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that they have everything they need in this respect.
If one worker is having to make do with a substandard, older model laptop, for example, this could be an anchor that weighs down the entire team. The upfront cost of upgrading hardware will be far smaller than the long term impact of lost productivity that comes with tech limitations being ignored.
Remote working presents a number of challenges that individual team members will need to overcome, especially in the face of the widespread restrictions that are in place around the world at the moment.
Because of this, you need to be willing to give your team more leeway while they are working from home, rather than being rigid in your expectations. Ultimately productivity and morale will improve more if you react flexibly to changing circumstances.