How to manage your team remotely

Due to the current context, many companies are switching to a home office. It is important that leaders have the right tools to move this change forward.

March 18, 2020

Due to the current situation, many companies are switching to a home office. While it is a practice already used in some organizations, for many it will be a mandatory change with extremely rapid implementation.

This change is not minor, each team has its characteristics and traditions and the fact that they are not together physically in the same place can be a challenge for leaders and managers. To achieve our goals and maintain the well-being of the teams managers should have the right tools to move this change forward.

For leaders who are faced to learn to manage a remote team in the blink of an eye, it is vital to establish the following points:

  • What are the typical working hours? 
  • Which communication channels we will use? (Skype, WhatsApp, social networks, etc.) 
  • How will we notify our availability? 
  • How will we keep up to date?

To be able to answer these questions, we share some tips:

1 – Communication: it is the key when dealing with remote teams. The way to achieve it is by defining specific timings to catch up, both as a group and 1-1. Also, it is important to maintain a weekly and monthly Minutes of Meeting. At times with many deadlines to be met and several active processes, an end-of-day record to keep everyone informed about what was achieved that day can be of great help.

We are in the era of communicative abundance: Skype, social networks, WhatsApp. Agree with your team on the channels that you’re going to use and that will perfectly meet your needs. For example: use WhatsApp only in case of emergencies.

2 – Use videoconferencing: it is a fundamental tool to strengthen communication between leaders and their teams during these times. Motivate your team to use the camera, this maintains participation and allows you to use and observe nonverbal communication.

3 – Maintain interpersonal relationships: although your team and yourself are not in a physical space together, you are still a team, and for this, you should not put aside relationships on a more personal level. This can be achieved by using the first minutes of meetings to catch up and comment on non-work-related topics. Create a more informal channel or chat, as well as a space to recognize workers for their efforts and achievements.

4 – Trust: even if your team is out of your sight, it doesn’t mean they’re not working. If your team has been in charge of projects, processes, and clients, they will continue to do so as long as clear objectives and channels of communication are established. Also, many studies have found that adopting flexible work options has improved performance and while being a communication challenge, it has enhanced team communication and employee well-being by reducing stressful travel times and improving a sense of trust between managers and their teams.

5 – Set priorities: as a team leader, you should point out the most important tasks and the ones that can be postponed at the moment. At the beginning of the day, point out at least three important tasks to focus on for each of your team members and once they complete them, they can move to the next ones. This will prevent not knowing what your team is doing and, as a result, to overload them.

6 – Motivate: don't let your team lose sight of the goal. Thus, it is important to let them know why they are doing what they are doing and what is the role of each one of your team in this goal-achieving machine. Set rewards, space to celebrate and recognize their achievements. These are key ways to motivate and inspire your team.

7 – Continuous feedback: meetings with the whole team are of great importance. However, it’s vital not to lose the individual approach. Many people working remotely may mistakenly think they are not being considered. Having 1:1 meetings, finding space to give feedback and seeking to communicate with each one of your team individually are also important tools to motivate them.

8 – Focus on adaptation: we all are different and some of us will adapt to the home office easier and faster than others. Take care of those who find this adaptation challenging and be there if someone from your team needs any technological, communication or task definition support.

9 – Set work schedules: when working from home, the organization of schedules is fundamental. In many cases employees end up carrying out activities continuously without stopping. Understanding that there are opening and closing time slots is necessary for the well-being of all. Ask your team to update their schedules for tasks execution, lunch, break and closing time so that you can respect everyone's time.

AutHor: Melisa Ladera, Consultant, Workplace & Change Management


DISCLAIMER: JLL and its staff are not authorized or qualified to guide or influence the preparation of their own business continuity plans from a health and public policy perspective. While we are making efforts to ensure that we provide an up-to-date list of publicly available resources, all details on COVID-19, as well as health and public policy implications, should be addressed with the advice of an independent specialist.

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