How to Effectively Manage and Support Remote Teams During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the landscape of most businesses. Forced to temporarily close their doors to preserve the lives of millions, organizations deemed non-essential have had to find an alternative way to provide products and services to their customers. For many businesses, changes included going virtual and creating remote workforces. 

Though it’s been several months since these changes were implemented, many employees report that adjusting is still a struggle. From balancing the needs of their family with their responsibilities at work to keeping up morale and effectively collaborating with colleagues, the everyday stresses continue to mount resulting in low morale and productivity.

While much of what’s going on the world cannot be controlled, business owners, managers, and/or team leaders, are strongly encouraged to find efficient ways to both manage and support their remote teams during these uncertain times. Below are some solutions. 

 

Be Honest and Transparent With Communication

At the end of the day, everyone has been negatively impacted in some way by the pandemic. These sudden changes to their personal lives can often weigh heavily on their ability to think or function professionally. Now, more than ever, your employees need to know that you understand and care about what they’re going through.

To effectively manage and support remote workers during the pandemic, leaders are encouraged to have transparent and honest communication frequently. You can have weekly virtual meetings where you check in with your employees and discuss your feelings and current news. You can have employees complete surveys as it relates to their emotions or even conduct team activities to encourage communication and boost morale. Some businesses even send out weekly newsletters to teams discussing current events, how it impacts the industry, and other inspirational messages or tips to help them through these crazy times. 

If someone is on their own, or is a lone parent, they might appreciate a voice call more often. Be careful not to be seen as prying, but you could offer a daily call to help someone avoid a sense of isolation.”, says David Rowland, the head of marketing Engage EHS.

Provide Effective Tools and Resources

You cannot expect your team to put their best foot forward if they don’t have the proper tools, equipment, and resources to perform their jobs. If you haven’t done so already, begin looking into the various tools and resources your team needs. 

Investing in tools for remote workers like team messenger apps, video conferencing software, project management applications, file sharing, and note-taking and task management software can be instrumental in helping remote teams to work together more efficiently. 

You can also provide your team with a list of resources ranging from online support groups, to forums for employees, to business blogs explaining how to boost productivity with better note taking or how to master work-life balance. These resources give employees reputable reference points to further adjust to a remote workforce in the midst of a pandemic. 

 

Show Your Team You Trust Them

While managing a remote team can come with its own set of struggles, now is not the time to become a micromanager. The very last thing your team needs is someone riding their backs all day long. This can add to their stress and frustration and further lower morale and productivity. Right now, your team needs to see that you trust them to perform their jobs. 

After you’ve provided clear instructions on company processes and goals, addressed employee concerns, delegated tasks based on skill set, and provided your team with the resources they need to collaborate and perform accordingly, you need to sit back and trust that they will get things done. 

Obviously, you can’t go off the grid altogether, but checking in on a weekly basis, following up with periodic emails, or utilizing platforms like project management software and work hubs can essentially help you stay up to date on team progress so you can make changes as necessary. Your willingness to trust can also help to boost confidence, reduce stress, and, therefore, generate better results. 

Even with the best of contingency plans in place, most businesses were not prepared for a national pandemic and how it would impact the world. As you and your team continue to adjust, remember to keep advice such as that provided above to help effectively manage and support your team. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.