Remote working is here to stay for many companies. As many team leaders have found, this has required an adaptation to their skillset, in order to deal with the unique challenges remote working presents.
So, what are some of the things that has been learned so far about managing teams in a remote environment?
Managing the lack of face-to-face supervision – The challenge here has been to effectively maintain workflow streams in the absence of in-person supervision.
One of the best ways for managers to deal with this is by ensuring routine, structured catch-ups – allowing a point of reference for workflow to work around, create clarity, ensure that progress can be measured and allow for feedback and discussion.
At the same time, managers need to be keen to avoid micromanagement – this may decrease employee morale, and perhaps isn’t an efficient use of both manager’s and employee’s time and resources. You need to be able to trust your team – using outcome-based catch-ups, rather than activity-based, can be a good way to do this.
Dealing with employee isolation – Remote work may be challenging or overwhelming for some employees, as isolation over a consistent period of time can lead to a negative effect on their emotional or mental wellbeing. The challenge for managers has been to appropriately support their employees and recognise when they may be having issues.
Having high levels of emotional intelligence is perhaps more important than ever before. Having the ability to recognise and act accordingly when your team members may be struggling or overwhelmed due to isolation, can make a huge difference to how supported employees feel.
Managers can also help to alleviate feelings of isolation through making themselves available for informal meetings or activities – this can take the form of:
- End-of-week catch ups
- Fun-focused team meetings
- Or, simply letting your employees know that you are available should they feel too isolated.
At Siamo, for example, some of our teams hold monthly fun quizzes or short breaks at the start or end of a week, where teams can have a short, informal catch-up, and check in on each other’s wellbeing.
Providing teams with the information needed to complete their job successfully – In the normal office environment, managers, employees and the rest of the team can bounce ideas off each other and share information.
To ensure information can still be shared amongst teams, managers can use a variety of digital platforms to share ideas and resources online, such as SharePoint. Ensuring that your teams are provided with key information is a great way to indirectly support your remote teams.
There are many more challenges that remote working has presented for both managers and employees, but regardless, the remote working environment has been a learning process for many managers and employees.
Remote working isn’t going anywhere – and it is important that managers continue to refine their skillset in ensuring the workplace environment continues to develop.
If you are interested in developing the team leading skills of your employees, enquire now about our Leadership and Management apprenticeships. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how we can help you develop.