For a team that is previously unfamiliar with remote working operations, there can be a significant transition phase. Employees will need to relearn their routine, teams must adapt to new ways of communicating, and software must be tweaked to ensure that it is effectively supporting the tasks required.
Significantly, it is managers that most deeply reconsider their skill set and approach to daily challenges. This is because not only are their daily tasks affected but also the staff they are leading too. Professional qualities and habits must be reconsidered, with those that previously made a team and individuals function well not necessarily transferring to teleworking scenarios.
For those adapting to a newly remote team, we’re sharing three ways managers can improve their leadership skills and make the transition both seamless and, ultimately, beneficial.
Clearly Defined Expectations
By far the most important element of a successful remote working team is clarity. Managers should, from the beginning, make clear their expectations, both in terms of how a team operates and what is achieved. This includes the methods and the frequency of communication. Employees should know exactly how to find information, raise queries, and offer feedback should they need to do so.
Additionally, the process of how teams operate should be established. Working hours, deadlines, and tools should be decided to ensure that individuals have the information that allows them to navigate their work away from a centralised location. This includes managers who must have confidence that their team are operating without in-person supervision.
Without realising it, some companies will already have experience maintaining teleworking teams, such as with outsourced payroll services. These experiences can be seen as an example of how expectations can be set early on before allowing successful hands-off operation.
Prepare To Adapt
Rigidity seldom works in a teleworking environment. Instead, a leader must learn how to respond to individual situations, being open to flexibility and adaptation. Large scale teleworking operations are relatively new and it is likely that individuals will encounter unexpected challenges.
Instead of responding with problem-solving tactics that have previously been successful, managers should be open to approaching the situation with fresh eyes. It is important to listen to the feedback of staff members and consider how the new environment they are operating from within.
The channels of communication or initially established protocol may not develop well with teams learning as they work. As such, managers should also be willing to, when appropriate, revise their initial expectations too.
One of the most common issues in remote working teams is burnout. Relying upon digital means of communication, employees can feel permanently switched on and, when working within their own living spaces, can even find it hard to step away from their professional lives.
Managers can greatly improve their team’s well-being by establishing downtime. This could be a casual meeting or even a social group video call. Such open forums allow for staff members to connect with each other without the obligation of work, helping also to keep their interpersonal relationships intact too.