Working from home has been the way of working for the majority of professionals for the past year.
This works better for some than it does for others. It’s also presented its challenges for those who are managing a team remotely. Maybe you feel you have perfected remote team working, many haven’t!
Even when we start to come out of the current situation, I foresee remote working continuing to be a working practice and perhaps even in a hybrid form as some have found working from home to be a good thing for them personally whilst some wish to return to the office. Finding the right balance and managing a team could continue being a challenge and I can envisage the negotiation that is going to happen at both a company level and within individual teams.
There has been lots of talk of how to make sure that a team working in this remote world is effective. After a year of working with senior leaders who have been trying to do just this, as well as getting the best from people, I have captured my key pieces of advice and observations into one place in this article.
Seven tips to improve remote team working
- Don’t assume everything can remain as it was in the office, more consideration is required.
- Make sure you understand the situations of those who report into you and of those who you work closely with.
- Agree how ‘formal’ communication will take place e.g. one-to-one catch-ups, team meetings. On video call or the phone.
- Also agree how ‘informal’ communication will take place. This is a big one. Some team managers have been annoyed by a constant stream of emails asking the questions that would usually be asked, at an opportune moment, in the office. Whilst others have had problems increase through team members being worried about ‘bothering’ their managers. Agree the format of ad hoc question asking i.e. phone, text, email or perhaps your organisation uses a communication platform such as Slack. Discuss whether you prefer these grouped into one email/call or one per question. Figure out what is best for both!
- Remember to check in. Ask how people are in themselves, when you can’t see people you lose some cues for whether someone is struggling.
- Be wary of how email communication, in particular, could be interpreted without the office context.
- Communicate any key updates when you can e.g. maternity/paternity returners, new joiners or other business news. I heard of one company where someone had been back 3 weeks but most extended team members only realised when she appeared in a meeting – not good!
These tips are not rocket science but in the busyness of everyday life, many can fall by the wayside! What can you do to improve how your team is working currently?
I tackle a range of topics in my free downloadable guide for those who are responsible for managing and developing people.
I hope the above guide will be helpful, if you wish to discuss your team’s current situation or a specific individual’s development, please do get in touch.
About the author
Joanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image specialises in helping ambitious professionals and their organisations improve performance and achieve their goals.
She does this by helping them master and strategically use the business skills of Personal Impact and Relationship Management. These skills are required for professional success.
Before establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates. She understands the business world and its challenges. She now helps organisations and individuals understand how to succeed in it.
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