Many managers and business leaders are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory – trying to keep a team productive and happy, without being able to meet physically on a regular basis. Grow Trade Consulting Inc. has been a virtual office for more than a decade, and we know that it is possible to manage a well-functioning team in different locations. But managers will need a few things:
- Communication. Schedule regular team meetings via Zoom, Skype, or another platform that facilitates face-to-face interaction. This not only keeps your team up to date on projects and protocols, it also allows everyone to interact directly despite physical distancing. Supplement these regular meetings with emails that keep the team aware of company news, and policy changes that might impact their projects. And remember that it’s better to over-communicate than to say nothing at all.
- Collaboration. It’s important to ensure your team still sees itself as such, even though no one is in the same office. Use resources like Dropbox or Podio to save and share projects, papers, and articles for review and/or editing by the entire team. Some companies have shared drives allocated for various departments and teams. Regardless of what platform you use, be sure to establish guidelines outlining where and when to save documents, and ensure that all team members know and follow these directions.
- Monitoring. Many workers will thrive in the new work-from-home model, but some will find it stressful and isolating. Monitor your teams members for signs of stress, and lead in a positive and proactive manner.
- Flexibility. Of course your teams need to meet their deadlines and objectives, but some employees (like those with young children who are now out of school) will have more to juggle at home. Discuss these matters with affected employees to find solutions. For example: can a project be completed after work hours, provided communication is managed during the business day? Helping employees find ‘work-life integration‘ will ultimately benefit the entire team.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for remote work, we believe these tips can help you lead a healthy and productive team in the coming months.
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