With the pandemic of Corona Virus at its peak and much needed social distancing in place, COVID-19 has disrupted how we interact, with breathtaking speed. All over the world, organizations have had to send employees home and now we all have to work remotely, without preparation of any kind.
The misconception among many is that working from home is easy however this is far from the truth. For managers it becomes increasingly difficult not only to manage their own work day without face to face conversations or any structure, but also is extremely tough to be in a position of leading a team virtually during a quarantine.
Here are a few tips on what you can do as a manager to keep your team motivated and make sure the productivity doesn’t go down.
Keep Things Organized
It’s true that people tend to get more done while at the office because they have already developed a routine which streamlines their ways of working. When working remotely your team is more likely to get distracted or side tracked due to the lack of structure. Connect with the team, assign tasks, discuss strategies and timelines so that everyone has transparency on what needs to be delivered during the day. Your team is only going to be as organized as you are.
In this day and age, despite the social distance it’s easy to connect virtually. Use this to an advantage to chat with your team (Slack), maintain a team culture (WhatsApp Groups) or even get face to face interactions in (Google Hangouts). Encourage brainstorming sessions or quick updates on video calls to kill the feeling of isolation and maintain the team decorum. Not only would this enable you as managers to keep track of progress but it would also allow you to keep up team morale and provide them with a direction.
Build trust in your team without micromanaging. Assign the work, provide a brief and give them time to deliver results. Managers need to trust that their teams aren’t slacking off at home and are actually doing the work so that team members trust that the managers have their best interest at heart. It is important to note here that micromanaging the team is also going to undermine their efforts in this stressful time and make them feel like their work ethic is in question. WFH is not easy for them as well and it’s critical to keep up their morale.
Maintain Open Communication
The most important thing while managing remotely is maintaining good lines of communication. Ensure that your team understands that their well-being is your primary concern. Communicate regularly and maintain transparency to deal with their reservations. While it’s difficult to determine a timeline on when the situation will change, regular updates and communication are an expression of good faith and concern.
Reset your Expectations
Most teams are used to working together, in the same office space, in similar conditions and on the same schedule. Overtime this essentially builds a team rapport and streamlines productivity as they work like a well-oiled machine. When working remotely, managers need to reset expectations and understand that maintaining this rapport and ease will take time due to lack of close proximity/ face to face interactions.. Managers need to be more patient, giving their team time to adapt to this new style of communication (both with you and the teammates) by offering more flexibility and accepting that they’ll all learn by trial and error.
While working from home may seem relaxing to team members it can quickly get lonely since they’re used to working alongside others. Times like these it’s important to make them feel like a valuable part of the team as they do their best remotely. Make sure you show some appreciation for tasks that they deliver timely or anything creative that they come up with. Studies show that team members who are appreciated have higher energy, have more ownership and are more productive. Plus a little recognition goes a long way.