We’re all sick of the words ‘pivot’ and ‘unprecedented’. But the truth is most of us have had to pivot our management style.
As someone who manages a team of more than 150 remote workers I’ve had lots of people ask me for advice in the last month or so. There are two main questions:
1. How can I keep my team happy and support them through this crisis?
Some of the best bosses are worried about their team’s mental health. Fortunately, the majority of employees are loving hard work, which is providing escapism from home life and the constant stress of reading the news. Unfortunately, some people just aren’t able to concentrate on work because of worry, kids at home or difficulty in maintaining structure.
2. How can I maintain productivity in a remote team?
Managers are also worried about keeping their remote team productive. Understandably, there’s more work for the employees who have been kept on when others have been furloughed.
Top tips for keeping a remote team productive and happy
Ask your team what’s wrong and how you can help them. We often run around worrying about a problem, thinking a direct question might be rude. But addressing an issue and finding out what your team members need is the best way through this situation.
2. Keep meetings the same
Regular team meetings should be kept the same, as well as social events like Friday drinks. It’s also important to keep your 121s in the diary, as people’s voices may be missed on group calls.
3. Remind your remote team of their KPIs and responsibilities
KPIs may have changed. And if you’ve furloughed some of your workers individual responsibilities will probably have changed as well. It’s important to keep a record of these, keep repeating the KPIs and responsibilities in weekly meetings and make sure everyone know them. Check in weekly or monthly to ensure targets are being hit.
4. Be available
Make sure your staff know you’re there. You might have more responsibilities now too, so having an hour or so, like ‘office hours’ is really helpful for staff who are struggling while managing your time too.
5 – Evaluate your technology and platforms
Are you using too much technology? Which ones are working best? Ask your team and try to streamline your processes.
6. Celebrate the wins
Helping your team see when they’ve done something right is so important. Make sure you’re celebrating the wins and that management and other members of staff know when someone has done something well.
7. Keep your team informed and up to date
Now is a worrying time for everyone. Make sure you’re keeping your team in the know about the business and your strategy. Worry can reduce productivity and targets are changing all the time. Keeping everyone informed gives you a much higher chance of hitting those targets as well.
8. Allow people to get on with their work
Now’s the time to trust your team and allow them to do what they’re good at. Checking in too often and micromanaging can demotivate your colleagues. It’s important to let your team know you’re there but it’s also important to allow them to get on with their own work.