The pandemic has taken a great chunk of our lives- both work and personal life-related. With all the chaos going on worldwide, working from home might have been the best possible option. But is it? Employees working remotely have taken a toll on their mental health and productivity, not to mention their enthusiasm for any task has decreased drastically. While motivating and influencing your team while they work remotely may not be as easy as you wish it to be, there are a few basic methods through which you can get the most out of your remote team.
Initiate Daily Check-ins
Interacting with your remote team is the way to begin monitoring them. Through frequent video conferences or one-to-one sessions, you’ll be able to keep tabs on whatever the employees are doing and if they are in the proper setting to work. Even though this may sound like a buzzkill to some, the daily check-ins will ensure that all the employees are fulfilling their due tasks on time and clearing any confusion. Furthermore, these shall encourage the employees to open up to you.
Communicate with the Team
On the topic of ‘opening up’, communication is key. In the pandemic work situation, employees already suffer from a lack of communication and interaction. What could be resolved in the workplace easily is taking a lot of time to decipher online, in a remote working scenario. To ensure this factor doesn’t affect the team and its overall performance. As a leader, you must communicate all the responsibilities and duties that they are assigned with. Not only does this enable the remote team to understand all the tasks properly, but it makes them feel important to the company.
Technology is a great tool once you master the art of it. With applications like Zoom, Google Meet, Discord, Microsoft Teams, and multiple others, it’s relatively easier to deal with remote teams now. Utilizing these applications shall gradually make your remote team accustom to the online working situation and enable them to work more productively. Aside from work-related stuff, you can even use these platforms to engage and communicate with the team!
Formulate Rules of Engagement
Information sharing might be troublesome for a remote team. For this reason, general rules of engagement should be introduced to the workforce; the rules shall describe when and how the employees can connect to you or the other team members. Remember to approach any difficulties through proper team engagement.
Company goals and visions have changed due to the pandemic and the employees need to be made aware of that. The way of work that you expected them to do earlier might not align with the current scenario. Hence, regular communication regarding the expectations associated with the remote team will take you forward at a consistent pace.
Outcomes over Activity!
Monitoring every activity in a remote environment might not be the best decision, as it takes plenty of time and effort than in a normal scenario. Instead, focusing on the outcome of each task shall be a better choice to manage your remote team. This leaves a majority of the work responsibility to the team, enabling them to work as they please as long as they deliver the desired outcome. Furthermore, this method ensures that your remote team starts feeling important and that they matter to the company.
Make it Purposeful
For a remote team, having a consistent and defined purpose will drive the employees into being more productive. The work-from-home situation can make the employees lose their motivation and purpose quite easily, which is why a purpose is required to tie everything together. Ensure that your employees are going forward with a goal set in mind.
Proper resources need to be made available to your remote team. Without a stable internet connection, laptop or PC, audible speakers, etc. a remote team cannot perform or operate to its full productivity. As a leader, it’s your responsibility that your team is fully resourced before getting on with the company’s visions and goals.
Complexities regarding personal and work-life should be considered right now if it wasn’t already. Any difficulty that your employees might be facing should be taken seriously, considering the current pandemic. While everybody is prone to the same danger, not everyone is in the same boat. Keeping that in mind, any obstacles should be eliminated.
Time to Socially Interact!
Social interaction among the employees of your remote team should be encouraged. Any gathering via online platforms should be motivated; a games night, movie night, or any games that could be played online should be encouraged. The ray of hope from social interaction not only ignites a livelihood in your remote team but helps them refocus on their work as well.
A pandemic isn’t an easy situation to get over, especially with people falling sick here and there. A flexible practice or day off can be introduced if your remote team is going through a hard time- it shows that you care for your team and their wellbeing.
An Empathetic Leader
The abovementioned points all tied up together comes to this- it’s time to be an empathetic leader. Empathy and compassion will get your forward at an increasing pace during this hard time. Reaction to sudden problems can be managed by handling the stress and tension through empathy and calmness.
Mentor, not Manage
It’s crucial to remember that you cannot manage or discipline the remote team during a pandemic. It’s harsh and insensitive to some extent. Furthermore, the usual managing techniques would not work for everything now. Approaching as a mentor and motivator will help bring out the best from your remote team.
Handling a remote team is essential and not conventional at all. For that, it’s wise to be flexible and empathetic while being open to discussions that would not have occurred under normal circumstances. A remote team can take your company to paces, only if you manage to bring the most out of it.