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5 Tips for Business Owners Managing a Remote Team

Friday 17 April 2020

7 minute read

By Sarah Burns

In these uncertain times, business owners and leaders within businesses need to take the lead and effectively manage their now-remote teams. 

Of course, this will undoubtedly include a lot of trepidation, or perhaps your team has been remote for a while and it seems like everyone is starting to pull in opposite directions, or you’re no longer clear about who is and isn’t helping you 'row to shore'.

Either way, we’re here to help with some core advice about managing a remote team, in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

If your business is still operating at the moment and you’re hoping to keep going and ‘ride out the storm’ as a business that remains as active as possible, here’s some advice. For others, who may have furloughed staff and/or temporarily ceased operations, for now, this advice will still apply once you’re up and running again.

01. Check in - however that works best for everyone

Preferably you will be able to check in with the whole team in one swift move - whether it’s a conference call or Zoom meeting.

But sometimes that’s not possible, especially when we have to make allowances for the ‘interruptions’ and ‘distractions’ that home life brings - whether that’s technology issues, children, pets… etc.!
Try to stick to a weekly catch up where everyone's involved, ideally, if you can do a daily catch up for everybody that’s fantastic, not just for monitoring what your team is up to, but also keeping team morale and bonds at the core of your communications.

Make the catch-up - however, it’s done - a two-way street, if someone is struggling with the current work set-up or workload, give them a chance to speak up and allow fair, balanced discussions and feedback from everybody, every single time you chat.

02. Go above and beyond

There are going to be people that have to work from home that is struggling with their mental health, the idea of being ‘trapped’ inside for days, or weeks, particularly if this is during the COVID-19 outbreak. Reach out to people in a non-work fashion, just do the right thing regularly and check in on those that haven’t been engaged or perhaps are more likely to struggle during remote working - i.e. they live alone.

It pays to ensure your team’s mental health is being cared for, as well as the workload they’re responsible for.

03. Utilise new technologies and ideas

If your WFH setup is not the norm (thanks, COVID-19!) it may be a good use of the time to allow your team/s to explore new technologies and strategies that can either be implemented now or when things get back to normal, especially if communication is limited or there’s more downtime than normal.

04. Prioritise goals, not time spent

It’s important to appreciate that everyone’s workloads and optimum working levels are going to differ - sometimes a particular department will have a larger workload than others. If you have a good, reliable team, those other departments may be peeling pressure onto themselves to over-deliver when there simply aren’t tasks for them to do.

Reassure, rather than putting on added pressure, tell them you appreciate their efforts, and ask them for ideas about creating work for them to do, or if they can support the workload of others’.

05. Flexibility is key

It’s an obvious one, but a biggie. You cannot expect things to run like the usual 9-5 setup (if you have one). Some people are going to have childcare issues, some people just won’t feel it one day, or their internet provider will fail, meaning work is delayed or stunted.

Maintain open, honest communication, and ensure that you’re able to offer an ear to listen when ‘life’ gets in the way - it will go a long way in the eyes of your employees/team. 

If you’re looking for free guidance and support during the COVID-19 outbreak our team is offering free 10 minute sessions with businesses of many sizes, to offer tips and tricks, as well as strategic advice, wherever possible. To arrange this please email hello@thriveability.co.uk with your preferred topic, i.e. social media, web development, HubSpot, etc., or find more details about our new offering on social media. 

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