- Set clear expectations
- Invest in virtual team building and socialising
- Utilise a range of communication platforms
Remote working has a number of challenges connected to it, and can leave employees feeling disconnected, isolated and unmotivated. Recently, many employees, as well as managers, found themselves thrust into the position of remote working with little warning and no support or training on how to tackle these new challenges.
The multifaceted nature of managing a team means a whole host of challenges have likely popped up as you switched to remote working. How can I motivate my team from a distance? How can I maintain good communication without feeling like I am micromanaging? How can I recreate that team bond our team experience in the office while we are all separated?
Lack of contact with managers – Remote workers can often feel like there is a lack of support and communication from their managers. In the office setting it’s very easy to catch someone and ask a quick question or get some support. Whereas while working from home, employees can find it awkward and difficult to reach out to a manager. Employees may not feel it is their place to contact you to ask for what they need. This lack of communication means less work gets done and employees can be left feeling frustrated and isolated.
Lack of social interaction – No matter what your current office culture is, whether everyone grabs a pint on a Friday night together or whether you enjoy coffee breaks with the people around you, your team are getting less of that than they used to. Even just little conversations around the office have an impact on team morale and personal well-being. While working in an office there’s a sense of community, and when employees make the switch to remote working they often feel disconnected and isolated from their team.
Distortions at home – For both managers and employees, the worry of home life distraction from work is a big one. Whether it’s partners, families, pets or just the TV, it’s natural to assume that working from home will bring more distractions, and as a consequence less work. Although this isn’t always the case, distractions at home can have a negative impact on the quantity and quality of work that your team is producing.
Techniques to Support Remote Workers
Daily check-ins – A daily scheduled check-in with each one of your employees on a one-to-one basis can be a great way to keep up open and honest communication while working remotely. Schedule a regular time every day to check in with each one of your remote workers.
Chances are, most days will just be a 5-minute catch up, outlining team projects and ensuring that there is nothing employees need from you. This is a great way for both of you and your employees to feel connected and leave the door open for workers to raise any issues or concerns to you. Not to mention it will mean you have a good sense of how team projects are progressing.
Try to keep these daily check ins light and positive. Working from home can become pretty draining, so it’s important that your employees know how pleased you are with the work they are creating. Remember, encouragement and praise cost nothing.
Create opportunities for remote socialising – One of the most important things a manager can do to support remote workers is structure ways for employees to interact socially. Creating space for informal conversations that don’t relate to work is so important for team building and morale. All remote workers need this time carved out for them, but it’s especially important for those who’ve been abruptly thrust into remote working with little to no warning.
There are few ways you can implement this time during the day, for example, take 5 minutes at the start of a meeting to talk about the weekend and encouraging employees to share their experiences and chat freely. You might like to organise a monthly pizza party, and have pizza sent to the houses of your remote workers while you have a video call.
With Steamed Egg, team building activities and games will be delivered to your team with no fuss. We are great at what we do, so you won’t have to worry about organising anything yourself! Just sit back, relax and enjoy some quality bonding time with your team.
Set clear expectations – When switching to remote working it is incredibly important that you are clear with your expectations from the off. Exactly what you are expecting in terms of contactable hours, expectations for meetings and communication, dress code and when and how employees should get in contact with you.
The exact specifics of what you expect from your team will be individual to your company’s needs, but setting clear expectations is vital in order to keep your team functioning as a cohesive unit.
Give options for communication – For teams to function effectively outside of the office, email is no longer enough to fulfil all your communication needs. Try using platforms such as Zoom or Teams like meetings and brainstorming sessions, as these platforms will allow you to have ‘face-to-face’ communication with all of your staff at once.
Consider adopting instant messenger for quick communications and simple questions between colleagues. Perhaps make clear to your team that phone calls are reserved for emergencies, and emails from more standard information. It’s important that your team knows how to use these different communication tools, and what type of functions each serves within your team.