At the moment, thanks to Coronavirus, many companies are struggling to manage staff working from home who had to switch to remote work without much preparation or notice. Adjusting to leading a remote team can be a challenge for managers, as your team will need different support to what you’re used to giving as you all adjust to working from home.
- Look out for signs of trouble with your team. You can keep an eye out for problems when you talk to your team and by making indirect observations as they work. Be alert to potential challenges and concerns your team might have. Make it clear that your job is still to support and care for the team and offer any help they need to work effectively. People may have different worries during the pandemic, including job security, so be prepared for these.
- Provide proper equipment. Make sure that your team has everything they need to work properly from home. Obviously, they will need a phone and a laptop, they might also need more complicated equipment. If you’re asking people to attend virtual meetings, have you checked they have proper cameras and microphones? Make sure they have access to any collaborative tools they need to work. It’s also important that the business has the infrastructure to offer these tools. Business IT support can help with this. Check that your people team how to work effectively from home and with communicating virtually. It will take some getting used to, but remaining professional is key.
- Encourage discussion. It’s essential to maintain a dialogue between you and your team. During this strange time, your team should have an understanding of what decisions your organisation is making and what these decisions mean for them. Effective communication between you and your team gives them the information and understanding that they need to feel secure and means that they can ask you any questions and express any concerns too.
- Trust your team. The best thing you can do as a team leader is to have trust and confidence in your team and expect them to do their best under strange circumstances. With your support, they will be better able to do this. You might be worried about being away from your team, and handle these worries by trying to micromanage them instead. Don’t do this, as all it does is cause already worried staff to disengage from you further. Don’t try to track their work too much, as they will feel that you don’t trust them.
- Increase recognition. During unsettling periods like this, your team is properly more worried than usual about job security, so will value recognition from you even more than usual. Proper recognition works to motivate the team member you’re praising but also shows other employees what you want, and that work is still valued. You could show recognition with bonuses, public acknowledgement of hard work, and other perks. Take advantage of a quieter time for the business by offering development to those who would usually be too busy.