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Managing Remote Teams during a Crisis: Tips that will help

Managing Remote Teams during a Crisis: Tips that will help

Date : May 28, 2020

Remote working is the norm now

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.

Managing Remote Teams: Challenges with working remotely

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.

CommunicationCommunication 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.

Here are some helpful tips to tackle the issues related remote employees:

  1. Trust your employeesTrust is absolutely vital when it comes to managing remote employees. You have to trust your team members to give their best. You cannot micromanage or supervise each and every task. Doing that will waste a lot of your precious time and result in unnecessary stress too. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to allow your team members to work remotely now and then, as a part of the organisation’s policy. This way, they will be familiar with the practice, and will be able to rise to the occasion, should such a situation arise.
  2. Set clear expectations – Update your team about the current situation and business demands during this time. Outline objectives and set clear expectations from the team. State the challenges that face the organization too. This will ensure that both the management and employees are on the same page. Use video conferencing or email to address everybody as a team.
  3. Communicate regularly – Communication is the key when it comes to remote workforce management. Hold regular meetings to discuss about the progress being made, provide feedback, seek clarifications, discuss strategies etc. It is always a good idea to use video conferencing for such meetings. Let the virtual chat rooms become your new meeting rooms. If you find any of the team members struggling with something, have a one-on-one call with them, ask if there is any problem they are facing or some limitation that is preventing them from giving their best.  
    Listen to the problems and offer help. The current crisis is tough for everyone. Do whatever you can to help them. You can use the following communication tools and software to make things easier too:
  4. This business communication platform can keep all your communications in one place. Dedicated channels for each topic of discussion can keep your conversations organized, so that everyone can have a shared view of the same. So, no more digging into your overstuffed inbox, looking for mails.
  5. This project management online collaboration software can make it easier for your employees to share documents, ask questions, and seek feedback, all from a single window.

Teams by MicrosoftThis 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.