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Leading Remote Teams During Covid

Role definitions may start to fall apart during the disruption, leaving employees unsure of where to focus. Emphasize objectives over processes to create greater clarity for employees — and drive greater engagement levels. Use video conferencing meetings for short check-ins or for meaningful discussions. Routine updates can be shared asynchronously through email or instant messengers. If you have both remote and on-campus employees, ensure that the collaboration tools support both populations.

Sometimes managers confuse autonomy with abdication or abandonment of employees. Managers need to learn that autonomy doesn’t mean less communication with employees. Frequent and regular communication are even more important when employees have autonomy. But rather than checking up on people as a way to micromanage them, managers need to check in with people and provide them the information, guidance, and support to work autonomously.

  • Remote work is growing at a rapid pace—close to a quarter of the U.S. workforce already works from home and the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted remote work worldwide.
  • We provide actionable, objective insight to help organizations make smarter, faster decisions to stay ahead of disruption and accelerate growth.
  • This is especially problematic for employees who do not have a separate physical space to work in at home, and who cannot work in other physical venues because of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • In the last few weeks, many organizations around the world have had to pivot sharply to remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Preserving times in the work schedule for virtual lunches, coffee breaks, or happy hours with team members are crucial to establish during the relaunch.

There’s a personal toll of the current pandemic that is affecting every single one of us. Another way to keep things personal in the remote working world is to continue to celebrate the wins of the team. Working in isolation can mean that project completions or company milestones get sidebar or missed entirely. Make an effort to bring these accomplishments forward in a way that the entire team can celebrate. It is a great reminder that although we’re working from home, we still remain a team. Provide direction to your team about what lines of communication are available and set priorities for them.

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One of the biggest challenges for remote-working teams is keeping balls rolling and roads unblocked. Communication can be subject to the biggest adjustment when the team is used to popping by a desk or scheduling a quick touch-base in the office. For me and my team, technology has completely transformed how we work as a company. Coming out of COVID-19, the technology used to make workplaces effective and efficient will continue to be used.

There are also a lot more distractions at home and not everyone has the setup to have a quiet workspace. Members of our team have children or live in one-bedroom apartments with a partner. We have to be patient as people make the transition themselves and take some time to adjust their behaviour to be more effective in our new working situations.

managing a remote team during covid-19

There are going to be days where you don’t feel like you can create a sense of confidence in your team. Be aware of this and consider if you are in the right mindset for the meetings that are on your calendar or if they can be rescheduled. As with all communication with your remote team, make sure they understand the parameters you’re putting in place to measure their success, and then track their productivity by work completed. You’ll want to apply this approach to assessing and measuring the impact of remote learning too.

This is why it’s important to create “virtual” spaces for these non-work-related interactions. We have been keeping up with our internal monthly e-newsletter while working from home. This month, the e-newsletter featured some online resources for https://globalcloudteam.com/ our team members as well as some pictures and stories about how people are staying healthy and active while practicing social isolation. It’s a great way to balance company updates with some more personal tidbits and highlighting accomplishments.

This resource includes recommendations to help HR leaders ensure teams maintain their success when moving to remote work. To ensure employees have the support they need, managers should set up regular check-ins and performance conversations with employees. Provide practical and moral support for remote working within the organization. These changes will not only help workers who are operating from home, but will help managers because they give a strong signal about the company’s genuine commitment to this work practice. A similar proportion of managers had negative views about remote workers’ performance.

Shifting to a remote environment can be a challenging task but if you do it well, it can be a gamechanger for your business. Not only can going remote save you a ton of money, but it can make your team happier, more productive, and—thanks to timezones—some of them will be working while the other half is sleeping. You can be more definitive to tasks by giving exact due dates, precise quality standards, and detailed information on the overall goal. But it’s important to remember that you can’t manage every aspect of your remote team and how they spend their time. For those used to working in an office, it’s completely understandable to understand why the new surge in remote work can lead to loneliness. That’s why it’s critical to recreating the daily interactions so many are used to by offering daily check-ins so everyone knows what their teammates are working on.

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In rapid and wide scale transition, identify and communicate a sense of calm, and reinforce and recognize the bumps, missteps, and growing pains that can come along with those changes. Managers previously identified employees’ work and contributions within the traditional office space, but they are now required to recognize more with less visibility. Remote workers and managers have limited unintentional interactions and fewer group interactions where colleagues can meet and share stories. “At most organizations, scenario planning focuses on the necessary operational responses to ensure business continuity.

managing a remote team during covid-19

As a leader, it’s also your responsibility to encourage your team to establish their own healthy habits to reduce burnout and increase engagement. Tracking performance should be a key point in your regular one on one meetings with your team. This helps you maintain a view of what they’re working on individually and as a whole and send an important message about keeping up with their own progress. You can even use third-party applications to help your team keep up with their workload and achievements throughout the week and stay on task. Whether good, bad, or in between, they should always know if they are performing at the desired level.

Text or instant messaging is a final option for quick communications and notes. It may be the time to upgrade to a new type of project or team management platform in order to keep everyone on the same page. Having young children at home and working from home presents an additional challenge. During these times, it’s important to work with staff to identify how they will adjust working hours and manage their work and home responsibilities. Ultimately, it comes down to having a bit more patience and flexibility. Coffee breaks are nice for unstructured conversation about our work.

Remote Managers Are Having Trust Issues

In these circumstances, it’s crucial to know how team members are coping with the added demands so that the team is able to support members, manage deadline expectations, and rebalance task loads accordingly. But it’s during such times that innovation and risk-taking become Managing a Remote Team even more important for employee engagement and organizational success. The disengaging effect of constraints on innovation and risk-taking are particularly severe for high-potential employees, who tend to have a stronger desire for these types of opportunities.

Whatever tools you use, your communications should be easy to comprehend. Don’t make the messages too complex, and be sure to clarify the team’s goals and individuals’ responsibilities and goals. Communication is vital, no matter what kind of team you are running. I normally communicate with my team via email—clear cut and informal messages come across the best.

Managing Remote Teams During The Coronavirus Covid

Just talk to your team about what you want them to accomplish,” says Kropp. When organizations first experienced large-scale remote work, few had much experience. Caroline Knight is a Research Fellow at The Centre For Transformative Work Design, Future Work Institute, Curtin University, Western Australia. Caroline’s research interests focus on work design, job crafting, wellbeing, and performance, and she has published in several top tier journals. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, in 2016.

In many cases, managers only see employees’ work once it’s completed and have limited opportunities to offer input on work in progress. In other cases, managers may worry about employees’ productivity. The lack of visibility may frustrate some managers, but there are a few strategies they can use to partner with employees for positive performance outcomes.

managing a remote team during covid-19

It really does help us feel connected to the company and each other. Teams have also settled into using additional tools and tech to keep project teams on the same page. A simple Google Sheets document can be used to track progress and timelines.

But first, let’s dig a little into why it’s so critical to have a healthy remote team. It’s easy to work on projects long after the workday is done when your work is just sitting there. During times of high stress and uncertainty like we are experiencing now, working long hours can be a way to stay distracted and keep yourself occupied. This is why it’s so important to set clear work boundaries for teams that work from home. It’s important to put the work down at the end of the day and enjoy your “you” time. Time tracking can be a great way to monitor team productivity and keep projects moving forward.

How Managers Can Support Remote Employees

While some choices about specific expectations may be better than others, the most important factor is that all employees share the same set of expectations for communication. Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances, this level of preparation may not be feasible. Trust is the foundation of a successful team, and it starts with managers building trusting relationships with each employee on their team. This can be more challenging during a crisis that brings high stress, uncertainty, and a quickly changing environment where people feel nervous and insecure. As we’ve seen, learning plays a key role in helping remote employees and their managers realize their potential more quickly as they learn a range of new technologies and skills. Managing employees through any anticipated market shift is a challenge, but what is truly daunting is finding yourself suddenly responsible for an entirely remote workforce, especially when the work becomes permanent.

Its Time To Relaunch Your Remote Team

This is a substantial amount of time that we can now use to spend time together as a family. Let your team know that your phones and screen are open the same way your door would be in the office. Just because we aren’t physically near each other doesn’t mean that the support leaders have for their teams need to suffer.

Build Trust

If improvement is not seen, discuss your concerns with the employee. Request that the employee send work in progress at set milestones. Visit Pitt IT’sRemote Work Resources page for more information about working remotely. Communicate within your team about the status of those communications.

It’s a powerful tool that lets you create, share, and present powerful live documents with teams. Using it, you can easily import your business collaterals in just a few clicks. If you handle data to several products with many devs and managers in different time zones, it’s essential to make access to any project as easy as possible.

In remote environments, managers have limited visibility into challenges or barriers facing their employees at work, and consequently they should make a point of establishing a regular cadence to check-in with each employee. As part of conducting performance conversations, managers should begin by helping employees establish well defined goals. The goals should be not only relevant to the team’s work, but also personalized to the employee’s interests and development needs. To evaluate progress against these goals and other individual work objectives, managers should establish clear performance metrics so that employees know what criteria they will be assessed against. These metrics may include product quality, schedule adherence or customer satisfaction. It includes everything teams need to work together and remain productive.

Technology is the key factor to how remote working is even possible. The internet builds the door, but it is the technology created that throws it open. The most critical element is to have a clear organizational strategy. This strategy should be codified in clear organizational targets with regular reporting and reflection calls on progress towards the targets. We found that clearly defined individual work plans and targets are required to help each team member prioritize their tasks and take responsibility for their own workloads. It’s not your job as a manager to be everyone’s therapist , but you should be available to listen to your team’s needs and make changes accordingly.

An interruption-free environment provides room for higher productivity. A relaunch is an ideal opportunity for each member to discuss their respective roles and how they have been contributing to team goals. Team members should be candid about how the work-from-home format has affected their productivity. Some may be juggling family responsibilities that limit their availability at certain times of the day.