The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the business world. Stay-at-home orders forced companies to transition quickly, requiring them to adopt remote work models with very little notice. As a result, many managers were thrust into a new paradigm.
Finding ways to lead successfully when overseeing a remote team isn’t easy. There are unique challenges that come with telecommuting, and it takes skill to navigate them. Luckily, there are things you can do to increase your effectiveness. If you need to learn how to manage a remote workforce, here are some tips that can help.
Focus on Communication
When you work in an office, a certain amount of communication occurs naturally. Colleagues greet one another in hallways, for example, and coworkers stop by to get answers to important questions.
Once everyone starts working remotely, these natural opportunities for direct conversation diminish. This can harm the quality of working relationships, as many connections may suffer due to the physical distance and lack of chances to converse.
Managers can help overcome this challenge by focusing on communication. Ideally, managers should touch base with each team member daily, at least via a messenger or over email. Additionally, they should schedule weekly video calls, allowing everyone to have some face-to-face conversations.
During these discussions, spend a little time checking in on your employees’ emotional state and mental well-being. That way, if they are struggling, you can find out and potentially help them find solutions.
Help Them Transition
Working from home requires a unique skill set, including capabilities that some team members may not currently have. As a manager, you should work with each of your employees. Take some time to evaluate their skills and offer critical guidance. Share insights into remote work best practices and how to make the most of available technologies.
Along the way, be patient. Each worker will pick up the new skills at a different pace, so make sure you give each one enough time to improve. In some cases, you may need to alter your expectations over the short-term, ensuring everyone has a chance to adapt.
Watch Out for Burnout
Burnout is possible even when employees are working from home. Due to the pandemic, stress levels are universally higher than usual for nearly everyone. Plus, many professionals have personal obligations they are also having to juggle, like teaching their children after schools were forced to close.
Managers need to be vigilant when it comes to burnout. If you spot an employee who may be struggling, reach out and offer your support. Additionally, make sure they aren’t overworking themselves. Set a clear schedule that outlines when they are and aren’t on the clock, and make sure they fully disconnect when their shift is over.
Ultimately, adapting to the new paradigm can be difficult. However, by following the tips above, you can lead your workforce through the transition successfully. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support your team during COVID-19, the staff at The Squires Group can help. Contact us today and see how our employee management expertise can benefit you.