Employees and their employers are currently facing challenging times due to the coronavirus pandemic. All of them are affected by the sudden change to working life. It is also posing a significant challenge to managers, who are having to assume even more responsibility. Most of them are working from a home office wherever possible. This is really new for a lot of them. They can no longer hold on-site meetings and engage in direct personal contact with their teams. How can they keep on leading their teams and ensure that their employees remain productive in such an extraordinary situation? How can managers keep things running smoothly?
Don't worry – it is possible to manage teams remotely. Just a bit differently to what you are accustomed to. To help you, we have put together a guide to managing your team remotely and to working from a home office. These practical tips will help you rise to the challenge and ensure that you work successfully with your team on a remote basis.
Stay motivated – and more importantly stay healthy!
Establish a standard communication platform with all of your team members through which they can connect and communicate. Software such as Skype, Slack, Yammer, e-mail or any other similar software will do the trick.
Hold regular team meetings to make sure that everyone is on the same page and has the same degree of commitment and understanding of what their targets are.
Make sure that each member of your team has at least one weekly one-on-one talk with their direct line manager.
Using video conferencing tools is unfortunately a real burden on your company's infrastructure. But it can reduce misunderstandings in communication. Consider carefully about whether video conferencing is really necessary and use it only as and when required.
Make sure that everybody can share their screen and that those working from a home office treat documents with the appropriate confidentiality. In such cases it should not be possible for third parties to see their screens.
Practice empathy in your interaction with your team. If you don't strike the right tone, people working from home can rapidly find communication impersonal.
Make sure that your teams receive all the important information necessary and have everything they need to carry out their work. This includes providing them with access to the relevant digital communication channels, letting them keep up to date about the company's development via the intranet, for example, or regularly reading the information published on the FOPH website.
Make sure that work is distributed fairly in your team and that nobody has too big a workload. Holding daily meetings can also help synchronize your team's actions. Try to find the best possible solution with your team – and remain flexible while doing so.
Regularly check morale in your team, especially that of members who are working from home for the first time for an extended period. Pay attention if someone in your team displays symptoms of fear or uncertainty. Address this and provide them with assistance where necessary.
"The most crucial thing is to stay connected with your team! Stay connected with your team – especially during this extraordinary time, which can have an extremely different impact on each team member depending on their job profiles and personal circumstances. Talk openly about the new situation and highlight opportunities just as much as challenges. Clarify mutual expectations and indicate that you can always be reached – by e-mail, telephone or video."