As companies from all over the world started to transition into remote work settings, the challenge of maintaining a motivated and productive team has become a paramount concern. With many businesses moving to this mode of work for the first time, there are inevitably some bumps on the road in adjusting to the new environment. That said, these hindrances should not stop you from taking advantage of remote work opportunities, especially since this can potentially be the future of the workplace. With the current pandemic forcing people to make changes in their routines and lives, the value of remote work has become more profound than ever.
Remote work offers flexible working times for most employees, but it also eliminates face-to-face communication, which normally gives them access to their managers. Whether it be the daily coffee sessions or the quick chat before and after a meeting, these small interactions are vital in fostering a harmonious relationship between managers and their teams. Despite the existence of conferencing apps to help conduct online meetings, there is still a struggle in creating the same connection that non-remote work once offered.
As a result, business owners and executives must take charge and guide their management teams to navigate this new space. With the right coaching techniques, you can train your managers to lead their remote teams effectively.
Give and Get Feedback
Remote work is a different experience from traditional in-office work, so you can expect employees to adapt to the changes in many ways. That said, encourage your management team to stay in the loop with their team and ask the team how they are doing. Since there is a lack of face-to-face interaction, managers should make use of meeting times to provide feedback to employees who perform well, so that they can feel a sense of accomplishment.
Similarly, reserve some time to get feedback from your employees. Ask them what they think about the remote work setting, what the need from you and/or whether they are running into issues. Remote workers cite communication, work-life balance, being stationary, and isolation as some of the problems they have. Push your managers to learn about how their team is doing and come up with solutions to help eliminate these stressors.
Build a Connection
Employees will often feel disconnected while working from home, so it is up to the leaders to establish a connection with them. Motivate your managers to check in on their team from time to time on a regular basis –if possible, once a day, even if it’s just a quick text or email hello. The topic does not have to be about work and can simply be a way to break the ice, especially since small office interactions cannot be done online. In the long run, it will be difficult for employees to work with their managers if they feel a lack of access to them. Thus, managers must put in some effort to bridge that distance and create a better rapport with their team members.
Humor – when appropriate – is a great connector of people. Suggest to your leadership team that they engage remote workers with humor. Be sure to emphasize what is acceptable and not acceptable. Here are some ideas:
- Joke or GIF of the day
- Contests for best “bad hair day” or “working in your PJs”
- Have employees snap a photo of their weirdest lunch meal and share
- Trade funny “zoom” stories
- Five minute zoom dance-off
Though you want to encourage your managers to get to know their team, the fact that everyone is adjusting to remote work differently should still be established. Thus, you can coax your management team to create some boundaries about their availability and what they can offer, then let them ask the same from their employees. Doing this shows an understanding that each employee is coping with the situation differently, so some may want to spend more time working with their managers, while others may prefer not to do this too frequently.