In 2019, 43% of Americans worked remotely occasionally.
In 2020, that number has increased massively, as the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world and social distancing becomes mandatory, forcing many people to work from home for an indefinite period of time.
If you are the manager of one of these newly remote teams, our first piece of advice to you is simple: don’t panic!
Remote work has been growing at a fast pace over the past few years, so you’ll find many tools and resources that will help you adjust to your team’s new working situation.
Yes, just like this article!
If you want to make your team keeps up the good work despite the difference, read our tips and learn how to be the greatest remote team leader you possibly can.
Make Sure Everyone Has the Resources They Need
Your employees didn’t expect to become remote workers out of the blue, which means that just like you, they didn’t exactly have the time to prepare their at-home office.
For this reason, you need to guarantee that every single member of your team has the resources they need for their specific position, whether it is something as simple as a laptop or internet connection, or more complex software and equipment.
The most efficient way of understanding who needs what is by sending a quick form to everyone, querying about their resource needs. Then, it is your responsibility to check their answers, assess what is, in fact, necessary, and distribute the resources accordingly.
Keep in Touch With Your Employees
When it comes to remote work, communication is key for many reasons.
Firstly, because working from home and not seeing other people can lead to some loneliness, especially in the current circumstances. Secondly, and as we will soon get into, being completely open about expectations and goals is essential for everyone to be on the same page. And thirdly, because you’re still a team after all and you’ll always have some chatting and catching up to do!
The easiest way to ensure you maintain good and regular communication with your employees is by using the amazing technology that nowadays exists. Truth is, the number of communication tools for remote teams is almost endless and that might lead you to a very important question… which one should you choose?!
It all depends on the size of your team, your budget and even the industry you work in, but one tool that has become extremely popular and that seems to work for most businesses is Slack: an instant messaging app that allows you to create chat conversations with one person, as well as channels with multiple team members.
Remember to introduce your chosen tools to your team members, sending out emails where you explain why you’ll start using it and simple tutorials.
Make the Most of Video Conferencing
While we’re on the topic of communication, another type of tool you’ll want to start using is a video conferencing one (with a screen sharing option, if possible). Doing so will allow you to keep conducting all necessary meetings with your employees, as well as clients.
Furthermore, you can use it to organize virtual get-togethers with your team members, to make sure everyone’s spirits stay up and that the team continues to be just as united as before. If you need any ideas, we think a happy hour or a game night would make for great remote team-building events!
As for the tool you should pick, you have many different options: the ever-so-popular Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting… knowing which one is right for you will depend, once again, on your budget as well as the number of people that would generally partake on the video calls.
Use a Cloud Based Project Management Tool
Besides communication, good organization is what makes or breaks the success of a remote and the best way to stay organized is by adopting an all-in-one management and collaboration tool where you and your employees can add and access all the important information about each project.
Similarly to the communication and video conferencing tools, you’ll find several different project management tools, such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. Our tip is that you take a good look at the features that each software offers and try to find the best offer at the best price for your size team.
Manage Everyone’s Expectations
Most – if not all – of your employees have probably never worked remotely and, as such, they might have a hard time adjusting and knowing what they need to do. That’s where you need to step in.
Now more than ever, it’s essential that you establish and communicate clear goals for everyone, ensuring that all your employees know what is expected of them. You need, of course, to create goals that are realistic considering the circumstances.
The secret is in establishing to-do lists that give people time to adapt and deal with any personal tasks while making sure the company continues to go further despite the distance.
Ask for Feedback
A good manager knows that there’s no better way of knowing if they’re doing a good job than by speaking with their employees. And that’s exactly what you need to do as a new remote manager!
Either by email or Slack, let your team members know that you are open to any suggestions on what can be improved, in terms of tools, processes and leadership decisions. We know they will understand that this is all new for you and they’ll be more than happy to help the company continue to thrive.
Be Flexible and Stay Positive
We are all going through a new and scary experience, and it’s normal to feel anxious about it. But in situations like this, positivity is what keeps us going and, as a team leader, that positive attitude needs to start with you.
Try your best to make your employees feel comfortable and calm about these new working circumstances and you’ll see that sooner rather than later, they’ll be just as productive as they were before this health crisis.
When you start feeling that anxiety creeping up, remember that you’re in great company with your employees! Together you’ll get through this strange phase and you’ll come out stronger and more united than ever.
Good luck and stay safe!
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