Many of us have had to get used to new ways of working in the last year. Remote working had been on the rise prior to Covid-19, but was rapidly rolled out en-mass by many businesses continuing to operate during the pandemic.
We’ve previously written articles with tips for home working, but what about managing a team remotely?
Being a manager brings with it a unique set of challenges, and these may well be amplified by working in separate locations.
So, if you’re looking for additional tips for managing people remotely, here’s 8 to get you started!
1. Ensure your own workspace is set up
First and foremost, make sure you are comfortable in your own home working space. Yes, we’re focussing on your team here, but if you’re not comfortable yourself, you won’t be in the right mindset to effectively manage them. Make your work space a separate part of your home as much as possible to promote a shift in your mindset from home to work and back again at the end of the day.
2. Ensure your team has everything they need
Homeworking is new to many. Making sure your team is equipped with everything they need to be effective should be absolutely front of mind.
Check they have everything they need to be as productive and effective as possible, and keep checking in. It may be that their needs change, or that the team get new ideas for things that would support positive home working.
3. Meet, often
While the solitude of home working might help with “getting your head down” and focussing on the task in hand, being together is often great for productivity as the proximity to one another allows you to share things so easily across your team. And that’s before you consider the positive implications of those quick social interactions you have throughout the day.
Meeting virtually may not be a real substitute, but it’s the best we have for now. Allow time to catch up with your team, both to discuss and share work, but also to catch up on things outside of the nine to five. Work with your team to set a regular pattern of meetings that you all feel is appropriate.
4. Trust is paramount
Trust is paramount in any relationship, and that goes for a working one too. Trust is also a two-way street. You need to trust your team just as much as they need to trust you.
Offer an open door (well, phoneline) policy and invite your team to feedback to you on how they’re getting on as much as possible. Even if it’s to vent at how hard they’re finding home-schooling their kids. Remaining transparent and open will build that trust and ultimately that will keep employees engaged and productivity high.
5. Encourage social interaction
As per the meeting often point above, missing the daily “watercooler” chit chat is something that’s easy to take for granted. Going from spending well over half of your waking day, five days a week, with a team to sitting by yourself at home is a big adjustment and people will be missing that social element as much as anything else.
You could set up after-hours virtual meetings that include a few drinks or a quiz or any other fun, interactive element to allow people to let their hair down.
6. Accept that it’s not going to be “the same”
A home working team will bring a different dynamic to work and there’s no escaping that. There’ll be times when things go very well and there’ll likely be new challenges that may feel exasperating.
Accepting that work will be different will help you contextualise and not get too hung up when things don’t necessarily go exactly as they would have done, had you been working together at the office.
You may find some of the team excel while others find the shift a little harder to navigate. Keep dialogue open and try to set clear objectives as much as possible to help keep people on track.
7. Get the right support
While you may be focussed on ensuring your team are ok, make sure that you also take the time to check in with peers and your own line manager for support. You’ll be able to share what’s working and what’s not and have an opportunity to get perspective about how things are going across the rest of the business.
The more positive you’re able to feel in yourself, the more you’ll be able to encourage the same sort of reaction from your team.
8. And finally… give yourself a break!
Getting used to remote working can be a challenge. Doing so when you’re trying to manage a team that you can’t immediately see can be more so. Be realistic and don’t expect too much of yourself.
Give yourself a break, listen to the New Year, New Mindset podcast from BTN Europe and focus on the things you can control.
To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip.
You’ll also find innovative and interactive virtual trips, which walk you through each step of being at the airport, on the train and in the hotel. You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.
Travel is changing. But with common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers should have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be business as (un)usual.