When your work environment goes remote, team management, engagement and motivation can be difficult obstacles to overcome with any organization. The usual work day, filled with in-person meetings, classes, and check-ins, audio and visual announcements, casual water cooler conversations, is no longer — the usual. Team leaders and members are not in the same location when working remotely – and do not have immediate access to the resources and relationships they’re used to.
If an employee or team member has a question and an issue during day, they cannot just pop in to their Manager’s or team leader’s office. They have to send an email or make a phone call -– and then (sigh) wait for the response. Vice versa, managers and team leaders do not have the in-person accessibility to employees and members that they are used to having– which makes management even more difficult.
Since it looks like remote work environments will be the status quo, at least for the immediate and foreseeable future, we’ve outlined some tips to help you bridge the VIRTUAL gap to better manage, engage and motivate your team, when in-person isn’t an option.
Craft (and in-Force) Clear Communication Guidelines CRAFT
Put in place clear guidelines for communication.
- Determine how you and your team will communicate. Is it email or text? Perhaps video conferencing?
- Decide what you and your team will communicate. Is it attendance? Is it work-related issues? Is it new policies in effect?
- Identify when you and your team will communicate. Is it once-a-week or specific dates / times every week?
- Identify and communicate who is required to attend and who is optional
- Set and communicate expectations on all required communication response and turnaround. Is it 12 hours? 24 hours? 48 hours?
Educate on the Process (and the Technology) of Working Remotely
Give your team the tools to succeed in their new remote environment by ensuring they understand what is being asked of them – and know how to use the technologies required of them. With in-person communication and presentations being no longer an option, you must look to virtual platforms. And there are a lot of them! Here are just a few:
- GoToWebinar for live virtual presentations and educational meetings
- Zoom for free-videoconferencing and team discussions
- Slack for team chat communication
- ZookSMS for mass texts. Whichever platform you choose, be sure to prepare an on-boarding tutorial for team members if needed that include technical specifications required, link to download, how to sign up, best practices, and more.
Combat Social Isolation with Virtual Personal Interaction
According to this 2018 study, one of the biggest hurdles to working remotely is loneliness. To combat this, allow time for your team to be vulnerable and connect with each other – especially in times of crisis. Make sure to plan for time during virtual or phone meetings (either at the beginning or the end) to check-in on the physical, mental and emotional state of each member of your team. See what’s going on in their lives – the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have a lot of team members, consider breaking them up into groups. You can also open up your calendar and allow members to schedule 1-1 time with you when they need it through a free online scheduling tool like Calendly, which integrates with your calendar of choice whether it be Outlook, Gmail, etc.
Motivate Your Team Through Virtual or In-person Events
Team building is essential to engaging and motivating employees. Members, that are used to seeing their co-workers on the regular, no longer have that option. Create ways to bring your remote team together face-to-face as often as possible. Host an impromptu ’happy hour’ video-chat, plan a virtual live yoga session led by an instructor, create fitness related team challenges with incentives, or even consider arranging a weekend hike where there is plenty of room for everyone.
If you have any additional ideas or would like to chat more on how to implement the above contact us today!