Have your leaders been thrust into managing their teams remotely?

So now the practical part of ensuring your technology allows for a mass work-from-home situation has been sorted, you now have to ensure the team is safe, productive and connected.

Here are some considerations….

Avoid the invisibility trap.

Knowing your people matters now more than ever. Working from home is often described as a utopia in the world of employee perks but for some people, it’s lonely, impractical and isolating. People are unlikely to be fulfilled if they feel unknown and unappreciated. Working from home might not be a desirable choice for some and they might be thinking how on earth will this work with my four housemates or three kids or squawking pet bird at home?!

If the place of work has changed, you now need to consider if the work schedule needs to change. Explain to the team that we all need to balance each person’s needs with maintaining a sense of connection. Simply ask each team member this.

“Considering your workspace at home with current personal commitments, do you think your work schedule needs to change?”

You might need to establish some core work periods during each day where the majority of people are free for team meetings or video-based uber-eats lunch parties. 10 A.M.  – 2 P.M. could be the core work time where the team can collaborate, have meetings and connect; give the option of output delivery at any point outside of those times. 

Clarify goals.

Most likely, people will be wondering if their priorities remain the same. Do your team’s performance goals need adjusting? How will your team measure their contribution over this period? 

Have a 1:1 or a team-based discussion and get clear on the expectations for this period. Prompt with questions such as: 

“Given the current situation, how do you think we will maintain service delivery?”

“Looking at your goals, do you think achieving any of the milestones is at risk? If so, what options do we have?”

“How can I best support you right now?”

Make sure they know their work still has relevance. Seeing the link between their work and the satisfaction of colleagues, clients or customers is important when you don’t have the hallway high fives or Friday night drinks. Measuring outcomes, not hours or visible presence is your new normal. 

Don’t leave communication to chance.

The office corridor no longer exists so how will you create a version of that for people in completely different locations? Agree on methods and frequency of formal and informal communication. Creating a sense of community will require some effort when your communal spaces and team huddles are off the cards. Remember to have a focus on “we” not “I” when leading remote teams. Have a team discussion and explore:

“What meetings, events, and activities will have to be done remotely and how?”

“What communication channels will we use if face to face isn’t an option?”

Check-in with your technology department to understand what solutions are supported within your network environment. Remember, flexible work is flexible in nature. Having regular conversations to trial new ways of working so be patient and take the failures as lessons. 

Written by the Circle In team.

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