Office commutes and face-to-face team meetings have become a thing of the past. However, the internet has made it possible to meet virtually and working from home is the new normal. While most of us are grappling with the situation as much as possible, entrepreneurs are facing a whole new challenge- managing remote teams from afar.
Working remotely can make it difficult to supervise employee assessment & development closely on a daily basis. Also, the communication might get challenging as most companies are used to face-to-face interactions. It might be difficult for employees to understand their manager’s expectations as well. Hence, remote working can often lead to miscommunication, delays, and disruptions, if you don’t plan wisely.
However, thanks to technological advancements, there are many ways to resolve the situation. If you are wondering how to lead during a crisis, you should know that, as a manager, you shouldn’t just get your employees to do their job right, but you should also allay their fears and anxiety about the volatile state of things. Here are some crisis management strategies that can help you manage remote teams better.
Employee/Team Management – Managers often worry that their employees may not spend their time efficiently, and on the other hand, employees complain of lack of support, inaccessibility etc.
Communication – Communication is a major hurdle when it comes to working remotely. Checking daily work reports, tasks, and workflows is not always possible. Also, managing different communication channels like e-mails, phone calls, chats etc. can be time-consuming.
Productivity – While managing remote workers, how do you ensure that each team member is in sync with the final goals and targets? It can be tough to track the productivity of each team member and detect the reasons behind the same.
Teams by Microsoft – This is another collaboration software especially designed for remote workers.
Uber Conferencing- It is a highly efficient app for web conferencing and online meetings.
It is worth investing in the above software solutions as these can help you communicate effectively and efficiently with your employees.
You can set a schedule for meetings, so that everyone is aware and can ensure presence. Don’t just restrict your conversations to work though. A few minutes of casual chatter about general things like the last web series watched on Netflix or cooking experiments can lighten the mood and also contribute towards employee engagement.
Offer emotional support – A crisis situation causes abrupt changes in the daily routine, and remote working is one of them. So, it is natural for employees to have concerns, problems or some reservations about working from home, which they may not be able to voice. Hence, employee support is essential. It’s your responsibility as a manager to support your team not just professionally but emotionally as well. If the concern is genuine, be as accommodative as possible.
Encourage learning – Since employees won’t have to commute to work anymore and outside activities are greatly restricted too, they will have more free time on their hands. So, encourage them to make the most of this and take up some free courses or learn new skills. With reputed educational institutions like Harvard University offering free courses in areas like health and medicine, computer science, business and humanities etc., this can be easy. As a manager, be on the lookout for such resources, and make it a point to share these with your colleagues.
Remember that these challenging times will not last forever. And working remotely can be a good opportunity for everyone to communicate more efficiently and become more responsible. You will still be doing the same things that you do, talking to the same people, and discussing the same projects. Only the approach will be different, and that is what you need to be smart about. After all, that’s what leadership during a crisis is all about. An open mind, adaptive attitude and a positive mindset is all that it takes to effectively lead your team during a pandemic.