As a result of Covid-19, where possible, most employees are now working remotely. An unprecedented time, this change has created a new set of challenges for companies and will require extra efforts. Particularly for managers who still need to support and engage with their, newly remote, team.
Within Cpl, our managers are continuing to working remotely ensuring the same level of service to our candidates and clients, along with new solutions to make life easier for businesses at this time.
Here are some of our learnings and tips for managing a remote team during and beyond the Covid 19 pandemic.
How to Manage Remote Workers
1. Trust team members and provide clear communication
Adapting to new ways of working can be difficult, especially for managers who like to be aware of what their team members are doing at all times.
The most important part of remote working is trust and communication. Trust your people to do their work as normal, and provide clear goals and expectations so each team member knows what their daily priorities are.
2. Develop and implement clear remote work policies
It's important that your leadership team identifies and develops clearly defined policies to address virtual work concerns and best practices.
The policies should cover how to address security issues, logistics, workflows, and methods for interactions. As a manager, you should share these work policies with your team and ensure everyone understands them.
Assess staff equipment and any requirements your newly virtual team have. Do your employees have laptops, screens, chargers, or any other equipment required to work efficiently?
Assess if there are alternative options available for example, installing Skype for Business on laptops to replace office phones?
Within Cpl, our people are set up with laptops and all calls have been diverted to mobile phones. Microsoft Teams is also being used for virtual meetings and video interviews with candidates. Once your team is set up it's also important to ensure everyone knows how to use any new technologies.
4.Provide a good communication platform
Along with having the right equipment having the right communication tools in place is imperative to remote working success. Using tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack or other video conferencing tools enables better engagement and a more 'normal' team dynamic.
These tools will also enable your team to communicate with clients or customers and can include helpful organisational features.
Within Cpl, we use Microsoft Teams as it comes with other benefits that suit are teams. These include file sharing, online chat and group video conferencing. It's not restricted to internal communications either which allows us, or your business, to add external parties to a conversation also.
This is particularly useful when holding interviews or meetings as there is nothing for them to install on their laptops, and simply an app on their mobile.
5. Engage with your remote employees daily
A quick daily conference call/video meeting can be helpful to assess workloads and discuss any issues. This could be as simple as routinely checking how employees feel and asking if they need any extra support.
When contacting colleagues you should also be conscious of different time zones or if remote team members have different working hours.
Some good ways to engage with team members daily include:
- Conference calls
- Chat groups
- Telephone calls
- Applications such as Skype or Slack
As part of Cpl's Group Marketing, our team has adapted to have a daily 15-minute video call. During this meeting team members share their achievements from the day before and what they plan to achieve in the coming day. This ensures optimum collaboration and keeps engagement levels high within the team.
6. Be empathetic & encourage social breaks
In a co-working space such as an office, there's room for a bit of banter and idea-sharing, which is a crucial part of any company culture. Small things like coffee break chats can help colleagues build and maintain working relationships.
Maintaining those connections will boost productivity, morale, and engagement. As a manager alongside the regular communications and check-ins, consider how to foster virtual coffee breaks or more casual conversation to keep your company culture alive.
For many companies and leaders, the transition to remote working will be challenging. Despite the current circumstances, however, it may prove to be valuable practice for the future.
With these steps, remote workingcan help your business remain productive, even in the face of uncertainty and continued pressures.