How to Transition to a Remote Team
As Businesses Continue to Embrace Remote Work in Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, It’s Important to Ensure a Smooth Transition. Here are Our Guide + 8 Tips for Leading a Remote Team…
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements all around the world. As a result, the majority of businesses have been left with no choice: shut down or work remotely. For those in charge of transitioning to and managing a remote workforce, there are various challenges to tackle – from choosing the right technologies to scheduling work assignments to maintaining morale throughout all departments. The fact is, managing a remote workforce is much trickier than managing a workforce within an office. Why? There are a few difficulties:
- Lack of cohesion within the team
- Challenges with scheduling assignments
- Communication without face-to-face interaction
- Handling conflict between remote workers
- And much more
Even the best leaders need a helping hand when it comes to managing a remote workforce, especially if it’s a new concept to them. In the simplest terms, managing a remote workforce requires a shift in mindset. It’s all about being more flexible and accommodating, but at the same time, sticking to boundaries to ensure work is completed.
There’s No One Size Fits All Approach to Managing Remote Workers… Every Employee Will Have Different Circumstances, Especially During This Difficult Time…
Those working from home, especially during this challenging time, have unique circumstances – from taking care of children due to school closures to lacking a reliable internet connection. Your priority should be having an in-depth conversation about each employee about their expectations and capabilities. If they need assistance or accommodations, such as flexible working hours or an upgraded internet plan, it’s best to work with them.
Here are our top 8 tips for leading a remote workforce that’s as efficient at home as they are in the office:
- Set expectations beforehand in terms of working hours, meetings, deliverables, attire for video meetings, and any other terms you’d like to ensure they’re aware of right away. If needed, create a remote work policy that outlines your expectations. Remember, this may change for each employee.
- Leverage the right technologies to accomplish your goals, such as a productivity suite like Microsoft Office 365 that offers anytime, anywhere access to word processing, calendars, spreadsheets, and video conferencing tools. You might also consider VoIP business phones and cloud-based line of business applications.
- Establish a communication protocol in terms of what communication methods are acceptable (video conferencing, email, etc.) and what information can be discussed via what methods. Make sure everyone is aware of expectations in terms of response time for each employee.
- Maintain trust in your employees even though you’re unable to see them physically in person. Remember, your employees are trained to do their jobs competently and should be treated as such, even while they’re working from the comfort of their own homes.
- Switch your focus to results rather than hours worked or activities done. If your employees are getting the results your organization desires, that’s what counts. This means if employees are more productive working a specific set of hours as opposed to regular business hours, that’s perfectly fine.
- Incorporate socialization time as most employees will be missing the informal aspects of the workplace, such as chatting while drinking coffee in the morning or meeting up at the water cooler. Try to incorporate some of these informal aspects via video chats so employees can enjoy their day and stay connected.
- Block off time for work without meetings to ensure that nobody spends their entire day on video conference calls or phone calls. You can use the calendar available in Microsoft Office 365 to set aside a block of hours that are dedicated to productive work rather than meetings.
- Offer support for any challenges as employees are bound to be feeling a bit of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, as well as difficulties with working from home for the first time. Keep the lines of communication open and let them know they’re able to talk with you if they need to.
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