Covid-19 has introduced a new challenge for leaders and managers from various business sectors and industries who are required to monitor their teams remotely throughout the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) set by the government.
Most organisations have had months to adapt to a work from home (WFH) environment. However, WFH conditions will always present an array of unique obstacles to leaders in the workforce.
These obstacles include, but are not limited to, supervising each team member's work, resolving misunderstandings among team members, addressing each team member's concerns, and the list goes on.
To effectively avoid and resolve these issues, here’s a guide on how to manage your team within the four walls of your home.
Use direct conversations and indirect observations to gauge your team’s stress levels.
Schedule regular check-ins with each team member or the entire team, and prompt them to share by asking leading questions like, "What are three things that can be improved to help you efficiently complete your tasks?" or "How would you rate the difficulty of your task on a scale of 1-5?"
Look for signs of team burnout or turbulence, such as frequent miscommunications, working overtime, slow responses, and so on. Being aware of these factors will assist you in determining the best course of action to take in navigating these challenges.
Put greater emphasis on the objectives of each project to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Provide clear working protocols paired with your objectives to establish the fundamental working blocks to each phase of your project.
Most importantly, be prepared for the following:
- Update any changes to the objectives
- Highlight work priorities
- Review employee performance
- Keep the team informed on each and every milestone accomplished
Workplace expectations and boundaries can be easily and unintentionally crossed in remote working situations. To combat this, it’s important to establish everyone’s needs in the early stages of remote work.
Be clear, committed and respectful of the following:
- Availability to work (do not contact your team after working hours)
- Platform for communication (do not contact your team on WhatsApp if you’ve agreed to use Google Hangouts for work purposes)
- Punctuality on virtual meetings (avoid cancelling meetings at the last minute)
- Project deadlines
Set your team up for success with the right gears, which may go beyond just a company phone or laptop. For example, if you expect your team members to design advanced visuals or edit lengthy videos, do they have the right softwares for it?
Even if you can’t offer a comprehensive set of technology or interconnected tools for your team, you can offer insight and advice on how they can optimise their workflow with their existing gears.
An adequate remote working project management software will enable you to have everything under one roof for easy tracking, management and modification. This will greatly improve your remote team workplace culture and communication.
A good software will allow you to:
- Communicate with different teams
- Evaluate project performance
- Track team member’s productivity
- Share information
- Interact across different time zones
It's easy to lose sight of team bonding when working remotely because you won't be able to chat with your teammates in the pantry or grab coffee together during breaks. As a result, team members may gradually lose contact with one another.
To counter this, try to set up virtual games, sharing sessions or sending small gifts to your team every now and then to bring a smile on their face. This may seem like a minor gesture, but it has the potential to make a significant difference in their well-being and reinforce your company's values.
When it comes to remote work, it’ll be an on-going learning curve filled with new challenges that will require you to remain patient, mindful and resourceful. Do take heart that every great challenge reaps great rewards.
For more guides on how to effectively lead your team, give our retail training programs a try today.