Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the work from home trend is still going strong. In fact, some offices have found that a remote work situation suits them better and have begun the transition towards permanent remote work. However, managing remote teams is not without its challenges. Here are a few tips to smooth over the bumpier parts of remote work.
Understand That Transition is Tough
Most people are used to working in an office setting 5 days a week, as they have been doing so for years and years! Be sure to remind yourself that this is a new adjustment and will take some time. Be patient with yourself and with your team. When you feel frustrated, try to take a break and revisit the problem later.
Create an Environment of Accountability
While being flexible is extremely important as employees make the transition from in-person work to a remote lifestyle, so is accountability. If you notice that employees have been slacking off, now showing up to meetings, not appearing to be online, or seem disengaged during meetings, be sure to say something before the problem worsens. If you let this behavior slide, it will fester and bleed into other team members’ behavior, which can cause a serious decline in productivity.
Be Accommodating When Possible
Keep in mind that while many employees are likely excited by the possibility of remote work, others are likely feeling a bit uneasy. This is especially true for individuals who require child care, help with pets, or assistance caring for elders. Try to work with your employees to create reasonable accommodations such as flexible work hours or improved benefits. Even just checking in will let your employee know you care about their emotional and professional wellbeing!
Set Clear Expectations
You can’t expect employees to meet expectations if you do not set them up for success first! Defining clear goals and KPIs will help legitimize your management style and help to hold everyone accountable. As you work to ensure each individual is up to date on what is expected of them, try to make goal-setting a team-based project. Encourage your team to chat amongst themselves when it comes to challenges, successes, and roadblocks. This will help to promote accountability and boost relationship building in the team.
Don’t Let Things Slide
Instead of waiting to address issues months down the line, try to give your employees continuous feedback as issues arise. This way, you won’t have to spend as much time trying to undo bad habits and can focus your energy on strengthening skill sets that make your team members shine.
Practice Open Communication
Create a culture where open communication is encouraged and celebrated! Talk openly about remote work challenges, such as dogs barking, neighborhood construction, focusing amongst family, and more. You will be surprised how many of your team members have shared experiences when it comes to the negatives associated with working from home. Use this time to come up with productive ways to tackle these issues and make life better for people at your company, avoid only using this time to vent! There are many solutions to consider, such as co-working spaces, remote work stipends, or team retreats that can help make working from home a bit easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
We hope this article helps you better understand how to wrangle your remote teams in the midst of a pandemic. When you need assistance with your startup or management consulting for a big change in your workflow, Bottom Line Consulting is here to help. Contact us today!