Unforeseen, large-scale disasters do not occur often, but once they do, business operations can get disrupted in more ways than one.
With the World Health Organization officially declaring coronavirus a pandemic, countries around the world are going into lockdown mode to limit the spread of the infectious disease. To promote social distancing, over 80 countries have imposed travel bans and have asked schools, colleges, universities, and companies to suspend on-premises activities.
Complying with advisories and directions of governments, multinational organizations, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, have reduced their office workforce worldwide, urging employees to embrace the work-from-home policy. More and more companies are joining the list, and the number will only increase over time.
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People, in general, are resilient to change, primarily when it is enforced in times of crisis and uncertainty. Although large organizations have the resources to manage remote working models, things will, however, be extremely challenging for smaller companies that are looking to start remote operations instantly.
Employees, teams, and team managers, who are accustomed to working from an office environment, will have to adapt to the new reality during this global crisis rapidly. Ensuring work continuity, maintaining team communication, making sudden decisions, boosting team morale, and minimizing challenges, are some crucial roles that will test the team management capabilities of managers.
Here are a few productivity tips for organizing your remote working team effectively and ensuring success.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
To implement remote working, first, be sure that you have equipped your team with basic work-from-home requirements, such as high-speed internet, laptops, mobile devices, and communication software. As a team manager, your main task is to maintain communication with team members, so make use of team management tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack, which are well-suited for team communication and collaboration.
Schedule Daily Meetup
Platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams will help you and your team to communicate and collaborate, but your team members need to see you, and you would like to see them too. Arrange a video or web conference every day, preferably in the morning and evening, to set the day's agenda and provide feedback. Google Team Hangouts or Zoom is ideal for remote conferencing and online meetings.
Concentrate on Goals, Not Activities
It may not be possible for team leaders to supervise all activities undertaken by remote teams. Therefore, when teams are spread across multiple locations, embracing remote working, managers must focus on achieving goals, rather than concentrating on activities, such as hours worked. It is what is being accomplished that makes the difference, not the things that are being done.
Manage the Expectations
Create crystal clear expectations that are realistic. Simplistically write the expectations, defining the deadlines, deliverables, and scope for each project. Help your team members understand what their task is and give them productivity tips. Also, tell them how you intend to measure success. Setting realistic expectations will make you happy at the end of the day.
As a leader, you must understand that your team members, who were once used to an office environment, might feel a sense of isolation and loneliness when they are remote working, especially in today's scenario, when people are considering social distancing. This is why team communication is critical, and you should often communicate with your team members to not only check their progress but also to learn about their families' health and life in general.
Create a Detailed Handbook
Keeping everyone up-to-date is a challenge for team leaders when their teams are remote working. To overcome this complexity, team managers should adopt a handbook-first approach to document process changes systematically, in a centralized place, so that everyone can have access to it. A comprehensive handbook minimizes confusion, enabling employees to get answers for their queries without having to ask anyone for help.
Trust Your Team Members
Many believe that the speed of project completion gets hampered when teams are remote working, instead of being in the office. However, in a crisis, you have to trust your team members. To ensure productivity, come up with some guidelines for work-from-home, such as text messages and emails to be replied to within 24 hours.
When rare uncertainties arise, your team members may not be able to follow the regular eight-hour work schedule. Instead of putting pressure on your workforce, give them the flexibility and freedom to do their job according to their convenience. This will ensure productivity without taxing your team members.
Team management in an emergency scenario is a tremendous challenge, but managers must continue team communication to elevate the morale and performance of the workforce who are remote working. Managers should also insist on utilizing the time that team members would have otherwise spent traveling to and from the office. An excellent way to do that is by downloading Simplilearn's mobile app, which is currently offering free courses for professionals seeking to learn.