The coronavirus pandemic is forcing dozens of companies to adopt new practices and shift to working remotely as they try to prevent non-essential contact and travel during the social distancing period. With the expectation that sustained efforts will be needed to deal with the virus, businesses are preparing for months without their staff in offices, with meetings being cancelled or shifted to video conferencing.
For many managers this means finding new ways to keep their teams engaged, motivated, happy and accountable away from day-to-day direct contact with them. While managing a remote workforce does take a proactive approach, it is not all that different from an office-based one. Strong relationships and a positive culture are still at the core of keeping a team focused on achieving success for the business.
Stay connected and communicate
Loneliness, disconnect and isolation are common problems when it comes to working remotely. Regular communication keeps your employees in the loop and makes them feel like a part of the team. Use technology like instant messaging, screenshare, and video calls and conferences to enhance relationships.Schedule regular check-ins both one-on-one and with the entire team to keep all members included, motivated and engaged. You can also encourage the use of platforms for instant messaging such as Slack, that allow informal conversations.
Measure productivity by results rather than time
Working from home can be distracting for some, especially with schools closing on Friday, 20th March. However, micromanaging employees’ time is one of the least effective way to keep your remote team on track. Instead, monitor whether they meeting collective and personal performance goals. Encouraging achievement through accomplishment and positive feedback keeps the spotlight on the contributions each individual and the team as a whole makes to a successful, thriving business.
Set clear objectives
Set clear objectives and set deadlines, encourage all team members to share their daily or weekly to do lists. This would keep them accountable and focused and their personal and collective goals, which is essential to keeping employees motivated when working remotely for long stretches of time.
Encourage regular breaks
Many employees might find managing their time and disconnecting at the end of the working day very challenging. Encourage regular breaks away from the monitor and a full lunch hour to avoid burn out and fatigue. Going outside for some fresh air lifts the mood and improves focus and productivity.