Managing a team remotely

Wednesday 15th April, 2020 – Andy Walsh

The Coronavirus Pandemic will and has changed the way we work forever.  We have had to learn to cope through the days, weeks and months of lockdown and isolation.  We’ve adapted and used new forms of technology to communicate with friends, family and work colleagues.  Working more remotely has become essential for a high percentage of our workforce.

Working remotely doesn’t come without its challenges however there are some efficiencies and outcomes that can be mutually beneficial to both an employer and employee.  For example, a business could save on costs such as rent on office space.  And an employee could save hours in travel that could be utilised for health, fitness and dropping the kids at school.  Good leadership is essential when managing a team that is working remotely.

Some tips that may assist managers to improve the engagement and productivity of their employees working remotely would be to :

  • Utilise and embrace the latest technology (eg. Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Microsoft Teams etc) for regular face to face catch ups, meetings and planning.
  • Use video technology as much as possible,
  • Manage staff expectations,
  • Allow flexibility given some employees may have to home school and look after their children,
  • Focus on outcomes, not activity,
  • Offer encouragement, emotional support and listen to your staff,
  • Seek feedback, contributions and ideas for improvement from your staff,
  • Work on team bonding,
  • Bring some fun into it and provide opportunities for remote social interaction. For example organise a late Friday afternoon drink meeting over Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams.  It creates good team spirit and staff can interact socially, have a laugh and learn more about each other.  Some give tours of their home, whilst others play their favourite instrument to create a few laughs and it’s a great lead into the weekend.

Good luck and embrace the opportunity for you and your staff to work remotely when required.