With the current global situation, an increasing number of companies are looking towards and integrating temporary work from home policies. It won’t come as a surprise if this sets new standards and revolutionizes the way we work in the future.
For more conservative organisations setting up a WfH for long periods, rises some concerns but there is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, working remotely has a number of benefits. You just have to follow and implement some good practices, and you could easily achieve increased productivity and better results at the end.
So here are our few recommendations to follow when managing a team remotely:
Crack the communication
One of the biggest challenges of managing a team that works from home is the task distribution and catching up with the flow of events – things that are usually transmitted verbally in the office.
The key here is communication and setting up some processes to simulate face-to-face interaction:
Set regular calls
To ensure the right distribution of tasks and that people know what is expected from them, you may set up a regular weekly or even if necessary daily calls to outline the priority tasks for the respective time period.
Use task distribution tool to follow up on the progress
After that, to track the progress you may integrate a tool such as Trello or Jira (they actually do a fantastic job for managing a team on-site as well). You may set up a different board or card for each of your team members and additionally prioritize his or her daily tasks.
Start instant messaging
To ensure the smooth stream of communication and to keep up with the daily flow of events, make sure to use a tool for instant messaging (Skype, Slack or another similar app would do the job). This would ease the interaction between team members and remove the need for official email communication for simple and more casual but still important information.
Keep up the team spirit
Another big challenge of being a great boss remotely can be recreating the social environment that comes with the traditional in-office interactions. To tackle this, you need to be more creative and to know your team’s daily routine or to invent one. For example, if the team members like to have a short afternoon break for a coffee in the common area, make sure to replace that with an online one where people dial in via Skype or Zoom and share 10-15-minutes brakes over a cup of coffee. This is important because it gives people the social interaction they usually get in the office and also supports the exchange of ideas.
Give your team members some instructions to follow
As a team lead or manager, it is up to you to prepare your team members for the work from home and to establish some good habits from the beginning. Here are some tips you could use to form short guidelines and even follow for yourself.
Define your workspace
With a dedicated workspace (a separate office room or just a corner in the living room) it becomes easier to focus and unlock the benefits of remote work. It would help you to get out of the bed and escape the lazy morning mood.
Set up working hours
It is important to be able to unplug yourself after work and encourage the people you manage to do the same. Surely you would want all the work done in a day, but it’s simply not possible. Moreover, after a few days of late-night work, it would stress out the team and will decrease their productivity. Advice on creating routine activities that give the start and the end of the workday. These could be a morning coffee and walk of the dog or exercise right after work.
Create boundaries with the people who you live with
Should it be your spouse and children or your roommate friends, you need to indicate the time when you are working so they make an effort to not disturb you. Advice your team members to separate themselves from their homemates during their work time and the difference would be noticeable.
Ensure good internet connection
Essential for the work from home is the secure and fast internet connection. Make sure everybody in your team to check up their internet provider and confirm a reliable connection and if possible, ensure a backup one. Here you could think of setting up a minimum on the speed and maybe give some recommendations on the providers. And if the internet speed is crucial for your operations, you might also think of reimbursing higher service packages for your team.