The COVID-19 epidemic has brought on a revolution in workforces today as social distancing calls have made teams adapt to a remote work arrangement. As a result, many team leaders and managers have adjusted to working from home and managing remote team members.
This can pose a few challenges for those who may have not done this before. If this is you and you find yourself in unchartered waters, here are a few tips from Lanrex to boost efficiency and help make things run a little smoother for your team.
- Communicate Effectively
One of the biggest changes from an office to a remote work setup is not having the ability to round up the team in person for your usual stand-up meetings. Rather than walk straight over to someone’s desk to check up on a project, all communication will now be done via email, chat, or video conferencing.
This is why it’s important for you and your team to set up some ground rules as to how to stay connected and continue talking to one another even through chat.
With social distancing, it’s important to ensure team members don’t feel isolated and the lines of communication always remain open.
Here are some apps that have worked well for remote teams:
- Instant Messaging — Microsoft Teams, Slack or Skype
- Video Conferencing - Microsoft Teams or Skype
- Phone apps - WhatsApp
- Project Management — Trello, Slack, Monday
It’s important to note that meeting structures will have to be adjusted in a remote work setup so be clear with your team on how to ensure everyone is across projects, deadlines and tasks. Flexibility is the key and if one method does not work for some, it is important to find ways to address this and provide alternative options.
- Keep Collaborating and Engaging
It is crucial for managers and team leaders to continue fostering an environment where the team can reach out to one another, ask questions and stay engaged even if it is off-site. Luckily, today’s technology offers a myriad of tools that can be used to promote engagement through group chats or video calls created in Microsoft Teams, Yammer Slack or Skype.
Having a daily check-in which can be done either as a team or one-on-one via video goes a long way to strengthening that connection you have with your team.
Daily stand-ups and WIP meetings should also be set up virtually to give your team the same structure that they may have been used to at the office. It is important to set up a schedule for this daily or weekly to ensure the team has a structure to follow where they can share ideas and contribute no matter where they may be based.
When your team dials in, they can take turns presenting and sharing screens or they can also make use of a dedicated channel to pin their ideas to. This should allow everyone to comment, give feedback and ask questions as needed. This can be done through a quick call via Microsoft Teams or Skype.
Celebrating daily and weekly wins through these activities give you the space to boost employee morale and remind them that their efforts are appreciated.
- Facilitate Meetings Better
While remote meetings can be fun, keeping everyone engaged and focused on the agenda can be challenging when done online. This is why having a clear agenda outlined ahead of time and choosing a dedicated facilitator to take the lead is crucial.
Create a shared document that people can access to add their notes in.
Ask people to contribute to the agenda and raise concerns if needed.
Remind everyone to mute their microphones during the meeting to minimise distracting noises
As much as possible, ask everyone to turn on their videos to continue connecting with everyone.
Although this may take a bit of an adjustment, it gets easier the more you continue to stick to these best practices every week.
- Keep Life & Work Separate
The key to successfully maintaining work-life balance at home and maximising productivity is by having the right focus at hours of the day when you should be working.
Adopting an ‘at-work’ mindset means setting a time when distractions should be avoided and when you should be taking breaks. As a manager, you should emphasise this with your team so everyone can work on the same rhythm and avoid burnout.
As majority of businesses have shifted to a work-from-home setup, you’ll also need to consider how some team members will have to contend with children and other family members at home. Consider how some team members may be working in the same room as their partner or child. You’ll need to consider this and help your team establish a work area where they will not be interrupted to maximise productivity.
- Manage Expectations with Your Teams
Managers need to set realistic expectations with their team in terms of work. This includes setting clear guidelines on the scope, target dates and deliverables for each task or project that they may be working on. By stating what the goals are and the reasons behind them, your team is in a better position to understand what success looks like.
Lanrex: Empowering Remote Teams with the Right Technology for Success
A lot is going on in the world right now and teams are adjusting to a completely different environment whilst working from home. However, by implementing these guidelines and setting clear expectations with your team, you can help make the transition of working from home easier.
If you want to make sure your team is equipped to handle the demands of telecommuting, get in touch with Lanrex today.