Many companies have in the last few days, rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amidst the spread of COVID-19. It’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new normal for many of us for a while, given the sit at home order given by President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos, Ogun, Abuja residents from 11pm today.
Some employees will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. But there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy. Thanks to the internet, we can aptly describe the world we live in today as one big global village, and with that comes the concept of remote working teams who are not limited by time or distance.
We have come to accept the fact that it is possible to have 6 people from 6 different continents working on a single project and doing it so effectively that it would not make much of a difference if it had been done by an in-house team all working from one location.
To help you navigate this period, here are a few tips that will help your remote teams grow to be more productive and well-coordinated:
Set Clear Expectations
Everyone has different ideas of what it means to do something “quickly” or “well” means. Whether showing examples of what you expect to be done, calendar sharing, etc., make sure you have clear expectations from those you work with online. The more prepared they are, the better they can serve.
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You should set clear expectations for:
- Work hours
- Communication system
- Timely meetings
- Key projects and deadlines
- Scheduled meetings
- Response to email
Trust Your Team and manage expectations
Sometimes, businesses are not willing to embrace a remote workforce because there’s uncertainty about whether or not the work will get completed at the same level as if they were in the office. To combat this belief, set up work-from-home guidelines, such as emails must be responded to within 24 hours, use text for urgent matters, and no calls between certain hours to make sure teammates are not working around the clock. Make sure your team is familiar with turnaround times, communication protocols and any other limitations or costs related to scope.
Stay Focused On Goals, Not Activity
It’s important to manage expectations and stay focused on goals when embracing a remote workforce. Do not worry as much about what is being done. Instead, concentrate on what is being accomplished. If we are meeting our goals, then great. If not, we need to look into the situation further. It is all about accomplishment, not activity.
Give The Team Help When They Need it
Being out of sight, you may have to struggle to address the needs of every employee. Though you may be out of sight, do not ever let them be out of your mind. Unexpected problems related to the project, or a teammate, or how the work is being done are common in every business. If something is really bothering your employees, or they are feeling under the weather, understand the clues they might be giving you and give them a helping hand.
Invest in the Right Remote Project Management Software
Your remote team working culture will flourish when you have everything under one roof. And this can be made possible when you rely on remote team management software to plan tasks, projects, and even people. Here’s what you can do on a project management software:
- Communicate with your scattered team
- Track productivity
- Maintain and manage timesheets
- Share information in real time
- Manage the tasks on a task list
- Interact across different time zones
Managing remote teams is challenging: organizing a meaningful process, monitoring team members’ activities and keeping track of work process is much harder than at an office. However, follow some simple rules, and you will do it. This way, you can have a group of loyal, hard-working and productive employees that will help you reach the company vision sooner.