Working from home was once seen as a luxury, but now it’s a necessity. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused many businesses to adopt a remote style of working where communication predominantly relies on online software and programmes. Here are some tips to manage remote teams and continue business as usual.
Schedule regular catch-up meetings
These catch-up meetings can take place over the phone or online via webchat. This not only ensures you keep each other informed, but also helps avoid the feeling of isolation, which can be very common in remote working. Make sure you also come prepared to the meeting with an agenda just like you would a normal face-to-face meeting, to ensure an efficient use of time.
Top tip – video communication is more effective than emails as 55% of communication comes from a person’s body language.
Use a project management tool
If you haven’t already implemented project management software in your company, then now is the time to do it. There are some great tools out there, such as Asana and Trello, that help monitor, schedule and organise tasks, so you can keep your project on track.
In this current environment, it’s important to be as flexible as possible, since many people are not used to working from home; it may take some time to adjust. Giving employees the choice to alter their working hours may be necessary to maximise efficiency and productivity.
Focus on outcomes
It’s impossible to track everything your employees are currently working on, so instead focus on the work that has been completed in order to adjust goals and expectations accordingly. Donald Hatter said “it’s all about accomplishment, not activity.”
Set up informal communication
Communication is vital for remote teams and different communication channels may be necessary depending on the context. Email is the most traditional form of communication, but not necessarily the fastest or the most appropriate. By working from home, you remove the ability to communicate informally face-to-face, and the best replacement option is an instant messaging platform, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.
As mentioned previously, working from home can cause feelings of isolation as humans are very social beings and need to interact with others. Thus, the loss of physical face-to-face contact emphasises the need to maintain team spirit even more. As a manager, simply asking ‘how are you’ can go a long way and make employees feel valued and appreciated. Sending out a weekly company newsletter about what is going on in the company can also help boost morale, as employees feel more involved and connected.
Keep them trained
If business is a bit quieter than usual, then use this time to train/upskill your workforce. Many courses are available in an online learning format, including our PMP online course. This is the perfect course to improve your project managements skills and project competency, plus it can be completed anywhere.