Managing Remote Teams: A Supervisor’s New Challenge

man working at home

As lockdowns continue, many people are forced to work from home. Remote working has its positives and negatives. Many employees say that working from home allows them to get away from disruptive meetings, corporate politics, and the grueling commute, which relieves stress and brings better work/life balance. While it’s convenient for work-life balance, it poses a challenge to supervisors and managers to keep their employees in check.

Many managers admit they have no control over the current situation and find it challenging to foster accountability without tending to micromanage. Yet, working from home is a way of the future, and they have no choice but to adapt to make the situation work for everyone involved.

In this case, managers should establish a game plan. Here are some tips that can help your team transcend time and space:

  1. Communicate Regularly with Your Team

Talk to your team more than once per week. Make sure to use not only your office email but also video conferencing and messaging platforms like Slack. This way, you can give your feedback and address their concerns timely. Don’t forget to double-check your message before sending it to avoid misunderstanding.

  1. Keep the Water Cooler Chats

Team luncheons and informal chats help increase personnel resilience. Make an effort to chat with your team members. Initiate non-work topics—from the latest Netflix titles to professional health coach diploma courses online—to make them feel comfortable talking with you. Also, arrange virtual game nights and team buildings to boost morale and camaraderie. Utilize Zoom or Google Hangouts; they have the features to make your activities feel like that you are together.

man working in a cafe looking at tablet device

  1. Trust Your Team

Most of the time, companies are unwilling to plunge into the idea of a remote workforce as they are unsure whether their employees would perform at the same level as if they were in the office. To address this, companies (or managers at least) should set up remote working guidelines like email response times, commitment to meeting schedules, and work accountability. That will help both the managers and the staff to have confidence in each other’s work.

The work-from-home setup should allow your employees to work when they are most productive. Recognize the different factors in play when working from home: kids, chores, and errands. Some of your team members might prefer working at night after all their family members are asleep or in the morning before their kids wake up. As long as you have agreed on specific terms regarding their deliverables, trust these employees to work independently.

  1. Stay Focused on Goals, Not Activity

It is critical to manage your team’s expectations and help them stay focused on your collective goals. It’s healthy for both of you to focus on goals, not on how much work is being done. Imagine the work you would be putting in if you obsess how many tasks your team is doing on a day rather than trusting they are responsible enough to meet their deadlines or quotas. If they reach their goals, applaud them; if not, figure out what’s wrong and solve it together.

Every team is different. What works for others will not always work for your team. So, come up with guidelines suitable to the needs of your workers and team goals. Share these details with your team and let them offer their input to make this remote setup work for all of you.

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