As a result of the global pandemic there has been a marked increase in the number of people working from home. This brings about significant challenges for managers, many of whom will have been used to managing teams face-to-face in the workplace.
With the potential for more distractions at home it can mean a loss of productivity, prove harder to stay connected with colleagues and become isolating and demotivating for team members. It may have been a while since you underwent any leadership training so below are some top tips for motivating team members and ensuring you stay connected.
Maintain good communication “Out of sight out of mind” is not a phrase you want to be associating with a working from home team. But it’s all to easy for communication to falter when you’re not sat across from a colleague all day long. Regular video calls are often the go to option, but it’s important to not solely rely on this as a way to communicate with colleagues. E-mail, instant messaging and phone calls are all useful as well. Just as with a work environment, conversations don’t always have to be purely about work. It’s perfectly acceptable to discuss what you did at the weekend, current affairs and that great new restaurant that’s opened up. This may seem unimportant, but it’s a great way to boost morale and build relationships with colleagues. Staying connected is hugely important and the conversations around work play a huge part in building and maintaining those relationships with your team
Promote Teamwork. Keeping your team engaged and connected is vital to ensure that staff morale is maintained and the team ethos remains. Just because everyone is working from home doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to still run effective team meetings, collaborate or share ideas. In many cases it’s actually proven that the removal of the usual office distractions paves the way to a more focused approach. But team members will still need time and space to be creative, to formulate new ideas and collaborate. A great way to foster the team spirit can be through video calls, collaborative tools such as coggle and team chats e.g. WhatsApp or a Slack channel.
Be careful not to Micromanage. We’ve heard of companies requiring their employees to take part in video calls at 10am, 12pm and 3pm on a daily basis. The regular “checking in” roll-call not only interferes with everyone’s day, it’s also a clear sign that employees aren’t trusted. Remember your manager training and don’t make the same mistake, make sure you empower your team to make decisions and don’t feel the need to play Big Brother. Whilst there are various tools to track and monitor the output of your remote working team, we personally feel that is you’re relying on these you’ve got the wrong people working for you in the first place. Judge your team by their results and not whether they are glued to the desk 9-5. Home working offers greater flexibility and you should encourage your team to embrace that and establish a routine that works for them in order to maximise their productivity.
Create a company culture that embraces working from home. We’re all familiar with the usual jibe that a day working from home is a great opportunity to get some washing done or have the TV on. A switch to a culture where remote working is the norm is what’s needed. With everyone spread out engagement activities such as company updates, quizzes or cook-alongs are a great way to embrace the remote working way of life. We’ve heard of companies giving their employees 2 hours off in the day to spend away from their screen doing something other than work. Changing the company culture and embracing the fact that not everyone will want to cling on to a 9-5 way off life will see you get the best out of your team.
Continue to develop your team members. Clear goals, honest and constructive feedback and identifying areas for improvement are just as important face to face as with remote working. Don’t fall in to the trap of letting this slip and not being as effective just because you’re not seeing someone every day. Planning is key and making time to speak to each of your team about how they are getting on with their development plans will make them feel respected, valued and part of the team.
If you’re looking for a helping hand on how to ajust to working from home we have various online management courses available. Leadership training is a vital part to running a successful team so why not check out the courses we have available here.