How can I support my team while they work remotely?
With many of us entering or third week of working apart from our colleagues and teams, we’re starting to adapt to the changes brought about by coronavirus.
If you’re an owner-manager of a small business where you lead a team, or you’re the manager of a team of people you’d usually work with face-to-face, it’s certainly a challenge understanding how best you can support them remotely.
To provide some guidance, the team at Howarths has put together some easy-to-implement top tips to help you manage your team while working from home.
Use different technology to communicate
Different people like to communicate in different ways, so try and make sure you account for this. The Howarths team has recently been using Zoom video calling for meetings and catch ups, allowing us to all be in the same place ‘virtually’ at the same time. We can also use it to schedule meetings, meaning the team knows what they’ve got on that day and can prepare in advance.
While video calling is great, it’s not for everyone. Some of your team might not feel as confident in speaking up in front of others on a video call. This is where instant messaging apps like WhatsApp can prove useful, allowing you to maintain instant communication with one person directly, or set up group chats where there isn’t always a need for video.
You might also want to try messaging platforms such as Slack, which you can use via your computer desktop to communicate quickly when everyone’s logged on for the day.
Providing different communication options to suit the dynamics of your team will get you the best results.
Have daily check-ins
We all know how much we value that daily check-in with our colleague or team, whether its more formally or simply over a cuppa in the canteen.
While you can’t have these face-to-face at the moment, daily check-ins are still important and help provide structure for your team. Schedule them in and use either a team video call or a one-to-one phone call to run through goals for the day or week.
The main thing with check-ins is to make sure they are regular and predictable, so your team knows when they will have the opportunity to ask you questions or answer queries and can make the most of that time.
Offer praise and recognition
This is really important and goes a long way to helping your team feel valued while they’re working outside of their regular environment and team.
If a team member has delivered an outstanding piece of work or received great feedback from a customer, remember to still offer positive feedback and recognition. This might be done via a one-to-one video call if the team member doesn’t like all eyes on them or shared over a team email if the situation is appropriate.
Continuing to praise your team and deliver recognition where it’s due will help keep moral – and productivity – high.
Plan in some social time
We’ve seen lots of businesses hosting virtual quiz nights or ‘Friday night drinks’ over video call in recent weeks. Activities like this can really help keep people’s spirits up and are a great way to mark the end of another week where your team’s efforts working in unusual circumstances can be celebrated in a less formal environment.
However you choose to support your team while they work remotely, consistency is key. Plan what you are going to do and stick to it to ensure your staff stay happy and productive.