Managing a Remote Team During Uncertain Times

Part 1: Help Optimize Work From Home Processes

Professional support provided by a manager to a remote workforce can take many different forms. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain a degree of normality while simultaneously creating a productive working environment. While there will be natural distractions, worries, and plenty of questions, once all employees are comfortable, happy, and safe, the role of the manager is to keep the show on the road.

In this series, we’ll suggest three ways a manager can provide professional support to remote workers during uncertain times. The first of this 3 part series examines how a manager can work with a remote team to help optimize their work from home processes.

Help Optimize Work from Home Processesas a mananger, you'll be expected to work with your team to optimize their work from home environment

As a manager, you may be expected to facilitate and optimize the work from home processes of your team. This includes ensuring they can work efficiently and productively from home using appropriate technology, providing them with the necessary education to maximize their effectiveness, and maintaining visibility, alignment and output as a result.

1 Take advantage of technology

Why?

As a manager, you have a duty to ensure your team can work efficiently and productively during a time of uncertainty. You should guide them toward the appropriate technology which helps create an effective work from home environment.

How?

Maintaining efficiency and productivity while working remotely is often reliant on the implementation of effective technologies.

For example, managing a dispersed team might require:

  1. Project management software (which most organizations often have access to in their existing software stack)
  2. Communications technology (such as video conferencing and instant messaging)
  3. Learning technology (for example, online learning libraries to facilitate continuous learning from home despite being away from the office)

Ask yourself:

What technologies can my team and I use so we can still work efficiently during this disruptive time?

using the correct technology when working from home is vital. Consider technologies such as project management software, communications tools and learning libraries

2 Educate your team on how to work efficiently while at home

Why?

Your team members might be unaccustomed to working from home and are likely under pressure to perform professionally and are naturally feeling stressed during this uncertain time. As a manager, you need to educate your team on how they can be efficient and productive from home to ensure they’re comfortable and working well.

How?

You can take a formal or an informal approach to education provision.

Some things you can do are:

  1. Share related articles you deem valuable
  2. Spark team conversations around working from home and learn from each other as a result
  3. Prescribe formal learning around topics such as communication and workplace effectiveness

Ask yourself:

What are the key learning areas I should be pushing my team toward? How can this be delivered?

Learning is the ideal activity for those working from home. Working from a quieter, more relaxed environment is more conducive to learning and development activities

3 Maintain visibility, alignment and output

Why?

A team which is forced to work remotely can fall victim to a lack of visibility. This can have a negative impact on both alignment and output. As a result, it is important managers put in place the necessary processes to ensure this doesn’t happen.

How?

Managers can prevent this situation by maintaining open, regular and reactive lines of communication team wide.

Ask yourself:

What will be the team’s rhythm for communicating on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Can I implement a formal communications schedule?

Taking these three considerations on board as a manager will help optimize the work from home environment of your team. This allows your team to continue their work towards both individual and team goals and retain some routine.

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