COVID-19 imposed a new reality, working remote. Just setting up a team to work remotely is a challenge in itself, whether technologically or to manage daily and weekly tasks. Are you a manager looking to build a better way of working remotely with your team? Is this your first time having to work from home and are finding it challenging to keep your teams working efficiently? This article is for you.
Getting your team to stay in touch and keep being productive brings the same challenge whether you are working physically in the same workplace or working remotely. How you work and connect with your team is what will make each of your employees the best at what they do. Remote work requires a skill set that will be key to develop in the years to come. View the changes brought on by COVID-19 as a test and try these different tips to see how they work for you.
Try these tips that come from the experience I have gained over the years and let me know if and how they worked for you as they did for me. Remember that each organization is unique, so be flexible and see what works for you and adapt as needed.
- Set Weekly and Daily Goals
More than ever, setting daily goals is a must. Successful managers and employees understand that without small, daily goals, they will get demotivated easily; success will, in turn, become hard.
Here is a method I recommend and which are used by countless thousands around the world. For everyone who has tried it, the effects have been incredible:
- Each morning, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down your 5 top goals or tasks to finish by the end of the day.
- Write them in the positive present tense.
- Remember to set a deadline for each goal or task.
- Look back at the tasks that have not been completed from the day before and add them to the new day list.
If you manage multiple teams, you may not have the time to meet each of them daily, but make sure you organize your week to keep in touch with each team. Make sure they have guidance and that they know what you expect of them. Some of your employees are more autonomous than others and will need less guidance while others need a more detailed action plan. That’s your role as a coach to establish where your priorities and efforts should be invested.
- Stay in contact with your team as needed, and if you can, daily
One trick I have done with my team is to organize a daily conference call at the beginning of the day. Different people have different work schedules. Organize a conference call 30 mins after your last employee has started working. This will provide everyone with enough time to prepare for the conference call.
What is the best way to structure this? Have you ever tried to manage your teams with a SCRUM approach? SCRUM is a way of working that helps teams work together and in sync.
Follow these steps:
- Each employee must prepare for the call – ask each employee to prepare their list of goals and tasks of the day
- Organize a meeting through Skype, WebEx or Zoom. There is no need to use the camera.
- Once everyone is on the call, you must lead.
- Start by telling your employees what your priorities of the day are. This will set the tone.
- Then call each employee by name, one after the other, and ask them what their priorities are.
- Make sure you ask them to work together whenever you see they are dependant to complete a task.
- Finish the call by taking back the conversation and wishing them a great day.
- After the call, make a list of all the more important tasks that need to be completed for the day. There is no need to list them all, you will get lost in the details.
As you’ve conducted these meetings on a regular basis, your employees will learn to prepare and get to be more efficient. They will thank you for helping them organize and prioritize because these are essential skills to learn.
- Organize your business meetings in advance
Remember that you are not the only one working remotely. You may have different calls with other teams or project teams. You need to make sure you are well prepared and ready to lead.
If you are leading a workgroup or a conference call, it will be more efficient to have a clear agenda. Members need to know that the issues covered at the meeting will be relevant to them and that they will be able to discuss issues that are important to them.
- Write an agenda with approximate times for how long each item will take. Think about what the meeting will feel like for participants.
- Don’t put too many things on one agenda.
- If you have a lot of information to present, involve a number of different people. Decide who you will need to intervene for each topic on the agenda. Work with them in advance to make sure they come ready for the meeting.
- Leave plenty of time for discussion.
- Make sure the discussion has a purpose. It helps if there is something you want members to decide, advise you on, plan, or help you with.
- There’s no point in making decisions unless you intend to implement them. What will implementing the decisions involve? Leave time in the meeting to discuss implementation plans and to identify who will take responsibility for what.
For more detailed information, please consult this interesting article by clicking Organizing meetings – University and College Union, UK.
- Reach out at regular intervals during the day
Remember, when we work in an office, employees tend to reach out when you pass beside them. That habit is now gone and you need to create a new approach. It’s important to stay connected regularly.
You know your employees and how they work. Some of them may be more the ‘’Go getter’’ type and will need space to perform and realize their tasks. They obviously don’t need to be micro-managed. But let’s be realistic, others in your team will need a little bit more close attention and motivation.
Here are some tricks:
- Call them to follow-up on some of the tasks they are working on
- Ask them if they need help and what is working well for them
- Ask them to lead and let them make their own decisions. Don’t make the decisions for them.
- Reinforce successes and behaviors that make them reach their goals
- If they don’t have immediate good habits, don’t worry about it. Give them coaching and tips on how it works for you and see them grow!
- Close your day
People tend to be more motivated once they notice how much they have accomplished. While being physically together usually ensures an easier follow-up, it’s more about creating positive and regular habits than being present in the same workspace.
Just like the team conference call you prepare every morning, have a conference call to close the day. Again, follow these steps:
- Each employee must prepare for the call. Inform them that they will need to confirm what tasks they have completed.
- Again, organize a meeting through Skype, WebEx or Zoom.
- Once everyone is on the call, you must lead the way and:
- Tell them what you’ve accomplished. This will set the tone.
- After, call each employee by name, one after the other, and ask them to update them on what they have accomplished. No need to go into details. If there are some tasks that have not been finalized, ask them if they need help from a team member.
- After all your employees have talked, congratulate them on a day well completed. Be personal and specific on what you congratulate them about.
- Finish the call by thanking them for their hard work and wish them a great evening.
In conclusion, be ready. This new remote working trend might just be something that will become permanent. Scientists are now saying this will become more frequent and these types of viruses more impactful through the years. Working remotely with your team will be a new soft skill you and your team need to acquire.
Looking for some advice and coaching to see how you can best implement an approach with your team?
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the words ‘’coaching on working remote’’ in the title.
Once again, thank you for reading our article and for providing some feedback.
I wish you great success in managing your teams remotely.
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