How to Effectively Manage a Team of Remote Workers

Woman on laptop videoconferencing with four colleagues and other remote workers on screen.Because of the public health crisis caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many businesses have instructed their employees to work from home to slow the spread of the virus as much as possible and comply with instructions to stay at home. As of April 20, at least 316 million people in U.S. states, counties, cities and territories were under orders not to go out unless absolutely necessary, according to The New York Times.

That means many workers now find themselves adjusting to the “new normal” of remote work. With everyone sheltering at home rather than gathering in the same physical office space, those in leadership positions, in particular, must adjust their approach to the new reality of distributed teams.

If you’re a manager or executive wondering how to handle the transition to everyone working remote, here are some expert recommendations for effectively leading your team while you’re sheltering at home.

1. Make sure your team has all the tools they need to work remote successfully.

That includes hardware (e.g., laptops and mobile devices) as well as software (e.g., Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) software), according to the Inc. article “7 Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Teams.” It’s especially important to give everyone access to communication and collaboration solutions that make it easy to work together and meet virtually, such as UCaaS platforms.

2. Ramp up communication.

Since you can’t stop by anyone’s desk to discuss projects or touch base anymore, it’s important to consciously communicate more to compensate for your remote situation, according to the HubSpot article “How to Overcome the Challenges of Managing a Remote Agency.” Schedule regular one-on-one voice or video calls to check in with your staff to ensure everyone stays on track and is on the same page.

3. Establish your standards and procedures for working from home.

For example, maybe video calls will become the default mode of communication for one-on-one check-ins between you and your team members, but voice calls or instant messaging are the go-to for urgent requests, according to the recent Harvard Business Review article “A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers.”

4. Set clear goals and monitor your team’s progress.

To keep everyone on task, it helps to ensure they’re aware of the weekly, monthly and yearly objectives they’re working to achieve, HubSpot states. In addition to asking for progress reports during your virtual meetings with your staff, you can also use project management or time tracking programs to maintain awareness of how things are going.

5. Listen to your employees’ needs and be understanding, supportive and flexible.

Especially during this crisis, everyone is dealing with anxiety, uncertainty and new personal obligations (e.g., watching kids who are no longer in school), the HBR article states. Let your team members know that you’re there for them and understand that they’re juggling a lot of issues and responsibilities, in addition to their professional duties.

6. Assess your team based on outcomes, rather than when they put in the work.

It’s a headache to try to micromanage people and constantly track their activity when everyone’s in separate locations, according to Inc. Additionally, people are going to get distracted by other obligations (e.g., children) while working from home. Don’t stress about making everyone clock in and stay at their workstation exactly eight hours every day. Instead, focus on whether they’re producing quality work and meeting deadlines overall.

7. Recognize people’s achievements publicly.

Giving thanks for a job well done can do a lot for a team member’s morale, in addition to showing their colleagues how valuable they are, according to HubSpot. Since you can’t make announcements in the office, send out emails or find another way to virtually spotlight your employees’ accomplishments.

8. Organize virtual team-building activities.

Humans are social creatures, and working remote can lead to loneliness because of the loss of casual chats in the break room, happy hours and other opportunities to connect, HubSpot points out. You can help people maintain a social life by presenting opportunities to interact from a distance. For example, at Stratosphere Networks, we’ve scheduled “happy hours” every Friday over Microsoft Teams, so everyone can still hang out and relax together.

If you’d like to learn more about finding reliable solutions for remote workers and crafting a solid work-from-home strategy for your team, our techs have plenty of experience helping businesses across all industries give their employees the ability to work from anywhere. For details about our services and solutions, please call us at 877-599-3999 or email sales@stratospherenetworks.com.

 

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