In 2020, with the global outbreak of the Corona Virus, more and more people were forced to work remotely. Eighteen months later, it is clear, that in one shape or form, remote working is here to stay.
It is great to see that companies such as Facebook, DropBox, Google, Microsoft, American Express, and Amazon have decided to offer their employees a more flexible working pattern. Those managing a team remotely know that it brings with it certain challenges and requires different skills.
As with most new ways of workings, there are both advantages and disadvantages of working from home. A recent study by Ten Spot , found that 54% of Gen-Z employees said that their biggest remote working challenge was that they felt they were less productive, and, 39% said that they had a shorter attention span.
Here are five tips on how you can help your team thrive in a remote working situation.
Be clear and set deadlines, especially if the task is time sensitive. There is nothing worse than missing an important deadline, so make sure you are clear about what you are asking for and set realistic goals and expectations.
Establish clear lines of communication. Remote working means that you are unable to walk over to a colleague’s desk and have a quick chat, but that there are other ways to communicate. We have instant messaging, emails, video conferencing, and phone calls available to us. Let your team know when to use each form of communication and encourage the use of multi-channels.
Have structure to your meetings. It is easy to miss things and get side-tracked when everyone is on a call. Have an agenda and ensure that your team is being heard.
A tip: if it can’t be resolved over 3 emails – pick up the phone!
Get your team to have their cameras on, it ensures that they are out of bed, in a suitable working environment and focused on work. It is easy to get too comfortable at home. Having a simple routine can help engage and prepare the team for the working day. Get up, get dressed and sit at a desk/ table.
Encourage everyone to contribute and share. Whilst a member of the team is talking ask everyone else to put their microphones on mute so there are no background noises and distractions. Ask the team to avoid sending emails whilst on a call as they may miss vital information.
Take the time to understand and plan your team’s resourcing against their capacity. Is one person constantly overworked? Can another member of the team help with the workload? Having overworked team members is not good and may well harm their productivity as well as their mental health.
Setting your team key goals and milestones creates a good foundation for your project which will help to deliver successful project outcomes.
How is your team doing? Do they need some extra support? How are they coping mentally? Do they have enough to do? Are they taking on too much?
All valid questions and ones you should take the time to find out from your team members.
Schedule a 10–15-minute weekly call with each member of your team. Let them know you are available and willing to support them. Recognise your team’s achievements and celebrate them.
It can be tempting to check in on your team and see what time they are online. But does this really matter? Everyone has their preferred way of working. Some people work better when the kids have gone to sleep and others work best in early in the morning. Of course, there are times when everyone has to be available for team meetings and online collaboration.
Learn how your team operates, monitor their working patterns, and when they are most productive. Let the outcomes of their work speak for themselves. If the work is being completed at a high standard, isn’t this what really matters?
Remote working or hybrid working is here to stay. These five tips will help you get the best outcomes from your team. If you would like to know about how Bestoutcome’s PPM tool, PM3, can help your project managers work collaboratively, please visit our PM3 product page.