Tip sheet: Managing remote teams

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed life as we know it, including how — and where — we work.

Remote work is not a new phenomenon. Almost 25% of the U.S. workforce already works from home, according to the Harvard Business Review, which recently published “A guide to managing your (newly) remote workers” for companies navigating this uncharted territory.

Connect every day

Daily check-ins should take place on a predictable and regular basis, according to HBR. Whether it’s a one-on-one or team call, employees should know that they can “consult with you, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.”

Provide multiple channels of communication

Communicating solely via email is not enough to sufficiently keep in touch with your team. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet can be used for both video and audio conferencing. As the mode closest to in-person face-to-face conversation, video calling has its advantages, especially for smaller teams and complex or sensitive conversations.

Lay ground rules

HBR argues remote work is more efficient and satisfying when managers maintain guidelines for the team’s “frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication.” Define the purpose of each mode of communication, and let the team know how they can best reach you during the day. Also, monitor communication between team members to ensure information is being shared.

Social interaction and emotional wellbeing

Budget some time at the beginning of team calls for informal non-work conversations, perhaps asking about employees’ weekends.

During this time of abrupt change and distress, don’t forget to acknowledge stress and listen to employees’ struggles. Frequently ask how they are doing and how they are adjusting to working from home and affirm confidence that your team can handle this challenge.

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