Managing your team whilst working from home
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 by heather Duhig — No comments
Working from home can present many concerns for management, especially those whose workforce haven't previously experienced work outside the office.
Many articles online will outline tips for how to integrate working from home into your workplace, with many advising ‘trial periods’ to test the water. As this is a luxury many didn’t have time to introduce before closing offices, we are going to discuss some of the ways as management you can ensure your team stays productive and motivated during this unsettled time.
Communication is the number one way of ensuring your team works as effectively outside the office, as inside. If you have access to platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Skype for business, try to set up team meetings frequently to keep on top of projects and KPI’s. If you don’t want to invest in these platforms as you are unlikely to use these once offices open back up, look for some free video conferencing tools such as Zoom. Along with keeping track of productivity, this also allows employees to maintain the social aspect of work by encouraging collaboration and teamwork in what can be a lonely period. Remember some people may be on their own during this period and keeping moral up is a great way to maintain a motivated team.
Without sitting in an office surrounded by your team, it can become quite easy for managers to forget to delegate work out within teams. Ensuring everyone in your workforce keep busy and focused is essential to make sure you are maintaining productivity, and avoiding people falling into bad habits. This comes back to communication, and keeping your workflow moving. Make sure everyone has regular check-ins, as it may highlight some people’s workloads are lighter and are able to take on more responsibility.
3. Manage individual needs
Working from home can often be a controversial concept within the workforce. Some thrive in the environment and adapt quickly to working outside the office. Others however do not adapt so well, and management must be mindful of this. Varying factors, especially given the current circumstances, could be the reasons for why someone isn’t performing to their usual standard. Communicate to see if changes can be made to better accommodate individual needs if necessary. For instance, can their working hours differ? Do they require more 1:1 meetings to keep them on track with goals and KPI’s? Do they need to reduce their days due to changes in childcare?
For some this is the first time they are managing people working remotely, and for many the first time being given the opportunity to work from home. As such, this should be treated with mutual respect for both parties. As management, you must demonstrate to your team that you trust them to continue working to the same standard as they showed within the office. Set expectations across the team so everybody is clear on what is required of them, these could include specific or measurable achievements. However, avoid micromanaging your team as not only does this take time away from doing your own job, but can also have a negative impact on productivity. Employees in a trusting environment felt 76% more engaged than those in “low-trust workplaces”. If management cannot trust their employees during this time, a bigger question arises as to why you employed them in the first place?
5. Be supportive
We are going through unprecedented times, and as such everyone is feeling out of sorts. As management this may require you to be more supportive to your staff. This may include sending helpful information on how to effectively work from home, making more time for 1:1 meetings, or highlighting achievements from individuals. Remember being a good manager requires you to make yourself readily available and accessible to your employees.