5 Tips for Management to Adapt to the New Normal with Remote Teams – Part II
In Part 1, we discussed tips for remote employees to become more efficient. But all of those efforts can be lost if the company and the management team aren’t adapting together and putting everyone in a position to succeed.
As we mentioned before, once the pandemic ends, a lot of employees might be returning to their offices, but not as many as before. Companies will most likely be offering remote positions, or hybrid options, to people for the foreseeable future. Yet, since this is uncharted territory for a lot of businesses, here are a few tips that will help them to organize their teams better.
1. Create a Code of Conduct Specific to Remote Employees
Setting expectations is the key to making sure everyone is on the same page and pushing toward the same goal. Defining what is expected will allow management teams to define how successful and efficient employees are when they’re working from homes and it will give employees defined parameters instead of unclear guidelines.
The Code of Conduct will also serve as a roadmap to management teams on how to check in on the work their teams are doing without having to resort to unnecessary Zoom calls. When everyone knows what to expect, no one will be surprised.
2. Leverage Business Software to its Max
Thankfully we live in a technological age that gives us the tools to video conference with our teams, update coworkers across the globe, and have all of the information needed at one’s fingertips when working from home.
Schedule video conferences on a regular basis to make sure team members are aware of what’s being worked on outside their bubble. They may have an idea or know a connection that could help with what a different part of the business might be working on.
Use Task Management software to assign and ensure tasks are being followed through on. Using the software to communicate clearly will allow teams to become more efficient and stop tasks and assignment from falling through the cracks.
Use CRM to ensure Customers and Leads aren’t being forgotten about and left in isolation. Communication is the key to any healthy relationship and that includes a company’s relationship with its customers. Keep updating customers on new protocols and changes to the business.
Use Project Management Software to deliver your products and services to clients on time and on budget. Giving your teams the right tools to work together increases efficiency, which in turn leads to higher profits and happier customers.
3. Hybrid Remote-Office Options
While some employees will prefer to continue working remotely, it is a worthwhile option to offer them a hybrid schedule where they are encouraged to come into the office a few times a week (or when necessary) and work from home the rest of the time.
Set up a calendar for employees working remotely to book a shared workspace in the office to avoid having an overflow of people coming in and not enough space for them to work. Set aside an area for overflow in case of unscheduled meetings or emergencies. This will allow them to plan their office days and schedule it in advance, giving management proper time to make any necessary adjustments.
4. Encourage Remote Social Interactions
One of the things remote employees will miss the most will be the social aspects of working in an office. From chatting to their friends, to going on a group lunch, to going to happy hour after work.
While it might sound counter productive to tell remote employees to hang out and do things not related to work it is something that can help people relax and improve collaboration among team members. When employees create emotional attachments to their work or their peers it creates a feeling that they are part of a team which leads to happier employees and a more productive work environment.
The important thing to remember is that it’s something that can’t be forced, if it is made mandatory it will become a source of resentment which will make it harmful to employee morale. Find something that a group of people have a shared interest in (favourite TV Show, weekly online trivia night, board games), and discretely encourage they organize a socially-distant and safe get together.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Fatigue and Stress
The global pandemic has gone on for over a year causing many mental health issues, such as Covid Fatigue and “Zoom” Fatigue. As a result of to the pandemic a lot of control has been lost and people have been under a new stress that is unfamiliar and can become overwhelming. These mental health challenges will continue after the pandemic is over, mental health doesn’t just automatically rebound.
Keep an eye for any worrying signs and if a team member is displaying signs of stress or fatigue, then reach out to them privately to discuss their mental state. Be prepared for a lot of people to unload some of their stress, and for some to say nothing other than, “I’m fine”. But even if there isn’t an acknowledgment of an issue reaching out and reaching these people can help.
Its also important to keep an eye out for these signs in yourself. Even though management is thought of as the leadership it doesn’t make them impervious to stress and metal health issues.