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Five tips to manage remote teams during COVID-19

During the recent COVID-19 crisis many of our lives have seen drastic changes, and in response to the global pandemic, many businesses have also been forced to adjust; whether it be boutique high-street stores taking their business online or one of the many corporations moving employees and teams to a semi-permanent work-from-home arrangement.

Working from home has meant far less face-to-face time than we'd usually encounter in our normal working lives, and as a result of this, managers are facing a brand new set of unique challenges. For some more forward-thinking companies, working from home might not be completely unusual, but for most, if not all, a 100% work from home arrangement is the new norm. Because of this, some managers may already have experience in managing remote teams, but for others, the concept is entirely new.

If you find yourself in the latter category, we've identified five simple and easy to implement tips that will make your life easier.

Here are our five top tips for Managing Remote Teams:

  1. Establish Ground Rules
    1. Clear expectations are crucial to any successful team and a vital part of increasing productivity. Don't go too over the top, you don't want your team members to feel like they're at school, but a small number of simple rules can go a long way. As a start, think about how you'd like to be communicated with, what someone should do if something urgent happens and how frequently you'd like to check-in with your team.
  2. Regular Social Contact
    1. This is a unique time for you and your team members. The likelihood is that this is their first time working remotely too, so help to make it a pleasant experience. Having a weekly team video call to check in and have an informal catch-up can have a number of both personal and business benefits, including helping those who are feeling isolated. Ask specific questions such as what they like most when working from home and try to keep it fun and informal.
  3. Never Cancel A Meeting
    1. A meeting might be an individual's only social interaction during their day. They might have been preparing for it for weeks. It's, therefore, possible that they have something important to share with you. Because you can't gauge what a meeting will be like when working from home, it's even more vital to keep to your schedule and stick to your meetings.
  4. Offer Multiple Communication Channels
    1. Don't restrict yourself to just email. Instant messengers like Slack and Microsoft Teams can offer a solution for quick conversations that don't warrant an email.
  5. Offer Support And Encourage Flexibility
    1. Working from 9-5 is old school. Think about using this time to experiment with flexible working hours. Not only will it give you a chance to see what it does for productivity, but it will also allow your employees to fit their workload around their new lifestyles.

Working from home might not be completely normal yet, but it could become the new norm. We've been running a number of digital training courses to help with working from home so if you or your team could benefit from some guidance, then get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.