Given the Covid-19 situation, many companies have opted for remote working, also known as teleworking, where possible. This will not only ensure that employees are kept safe during the crisis, but will also mean that the negative impact of the situation on businesses will hopefully be reduced. With this in mind, we have put together some tips for managing remote teams and teleworking successfully.
Benefits of remote working for teams.
Working from home offers a multitude of benefits for both teams of workers and your company as a whole:
- Less stress
- Group morale
- Increased responsibility
- Cost reduction
- Greater productivity
Despite the uncertainty and anxiety of the coronavirus situation, working from home means that workers do not face situations that can generate stress in their day to day lives, such as traffic jams to get to work, parking or crowds on public transport. In addition, the home can provide a safe environment during a time of stress, which can help to boost employees' emotional wellbeing.
Sometimes work teams are made up of people who are very different. Whilst diversity is key to promoting success in the workplace, sometimes group morale can be affected by workers' relationships in the physical workplace. When working from home, all employees are in a more similar situation, so are likely to feel more united and part of the team. This coupled with the team bonding activities we have seen a lot of companies promoting (virtual quizzes, drinks, exercise classes etc) can really help with boosting morale.
Increased responsibility and self-esteem.
Time self-management and team setup can make workers more responsible, and more accountable for their own performance at work. This can lead to a boost in self-esteem when they complete good work.
Remote working avoids expenses such as meals away from home or travel costs for employees. For companies as a whole, large costs such as electricity consumption can also be reduced.
The home environment without workplace distractions, such as people to talk to in the kitchen or the corridor, or noise levels, can make time spent working more productive. Having a little more flexibility in time allows teams to organise by objectives and not by hours, allowing more work to be done in less time.
How to manage your team when remote working.
Coordinating a team is not an easy task when working from home! Your team is not in front of you and this can cause delays in tasks, either due to communication issues, or because a worker has not understood what they need to do That is why as a coordinator you should act as a guide, especially at the beginning. You must "tutor" your team at least until it is able to self-regulate without problems.
Planning in is essential. Tasks need to be clearly stated. Likewise, it is essential to establish important criteria for these tasks in order to determine which ones should be carried out more quickly and which ones can wait. Professionals have more independence when making decisions, therefore, they must be more careful with the criteria on what to do at all times.
In this regard, a good idea is to use collaborative planner-type work tools that the entire team has access to. In this way, you can define specific goals for each person. In this way, all members will know what everyone is working on, and who to ask for help if necessary.
Schedules, although somewhat more flexible, are essential. Control of hours worked is especially important to know what can be improved and what should be worked. However, it is not so important that the worker meets a schedule, but that the team meets the programmed objectives.
Emotional management of your team is also key. One of the main dangers that teleworking can have is the feeling of loneliness. So, when coordinating teams, one of the most important tasks is to motivate each person who is part of them. Likewise, you must also mediate conflicts that may arise both between colleagues and between professionals and the company itself.
On the other hand, you must trust your employees and forget the feeling of loss of control over managing them in person. You cannot think that your employees are having fun or watching TV at home, since they are doing the same work that they would do in the office. Lack of confidence or trust in your workers is an attitude that does not help job cohesion, an essential aspect in this situation! Trust them, and they will trust you.
Tips for successful team remote working.
It is important to consistently organise meetings to track both the tasks and the situation of the employees. It will increase the closeness with your team, will create links between its members and the communication will be more direct, this will avoid possible misunderstandings. A good option is to use Skype, Hangouts or any other similar tool.
Include these video conferences in planning at the start of the week so that your team knows when they will take place. You should not go overboard with these meetings though!
The importance of the communication.
Take time to talk to the team frequently. Communication during teleworking is a must. Spend time with all team members both together and separately.
Using professional instant messaging tools is recommended for keeping in touch. Hangouts, Whatsapp or an internal chat can be very useful. Communication must be as clear as possible and if any doubt arises, be able to solve it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Being in contact continuously is essential to do the job effectively. Having access to it will give your team peace of mind and communication will flow naturally, without having to force it.
Serve as support and lean on others.
It is necessary for the team to have a figure to lean on to continue in any situation. Just as you have to lean on your teams, they will relieve you of a great workload and help you when you need it.
During the last months we have seen that remote working can be successful for many companies. And, best of all, when well managed, it can even increase productivity. So, after getting out of this situation, it is very possible that many companies consider implementing teleworking among their workers to improve their employer branding.
And you? Succeeding with remote workingis in your hands. Your teams need you as much as you need them, keep that in mind.