One of the more common changes to hit the commercial world is the need for team members to work remotely.
Here is a simple - Five-Step Process to Manage Remote Team Members:
There needs to be structure. In order to be effective, team members need to have a structure in their communication and workflow.
Set meeting times and agendas need to be established (more on this later).
There also needs to be structure to the way work and progress are reported.
One of the benefits of working as a part of a team is a level of camaraderie and a sense of belonging.
Treating the team member as if they were in the office is important.
Allowing them to talk with you about the day-to-day things is important, so don’t limit communication to purely work just because they are no longer a few paces away.
Encouraging sharing on group chats such as WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams is a great start.
What they achieve is far more important than when they are working on it.
Whilst the aim is to keep remote working as close to the office environment as possible, there will be distractions.
Accept that from time to time they may be distracted by things at home.
As long as they are meeting expectations on delivery and quality, don’t sweat the small stuff.
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Be crystal clear on expectations around working hours, and how long it should take a team member to respond to you or another team member.
How do you expect them to communicate with each other?
Make sure you are as focussed on how affected they are as to how effective they are by working from home.
For many, it will be a treat, for some a chore, and for a few, quite daunting.
If you want some ideas on how to structure the meetings here is a four-step process:
This should address the personal aspect from step 2 above for a brief time and then get into,
- what have they worked on,
- what were the challenges,
- what help do they need and
- what is in the plan for the week ahead?
This is a weekly action review so that each team member knows what the other is doing.
This would normally be transparent within the office and would not normally be covered in a weekly ‘team” or “sales” meeting so set a short time aside each week for this.
The bottom line is to continue to give your teams more structure and recognise the risks of isolation which can adversely affect performance.
If your team needs to work remotely, set them and you up for success, and remember to maintain a healthy dose of humour and personality.
Remember social isolation doesn’t mean emotional isolation!
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