How to Transition Your Team to Remote Work
The transition to working from home can go seamlessly for some and pose some unforeseen issues for others. Managers have the responsibility to be well informed about some of the best ways to ensure a smooth and successful transition to work from home. A manager’s failure to transition their team effectively can have negative impacts on business function, employee morale, and in the end, your ability to generate revenue.
Set Up In-person Meetings
When first adjusting it can be especially helpful to hold occasional face to face meetings either in a collaborative space or one-on-one. They establish a sense of normalcy and are a great opportunity to voice concerns and listen to feedback. When facing a situation where social distancing is required, use platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Webex to hold one-on-one video chats to connect with employees.
Encourage Maintaining Routines
Try to keep up with routines and procedures while transitioning. Maintaining a plan of action keeps the switch from in-office to virtual from feeling like an uncontrolled free-for-all. Implementing a concise and thoughtful remote policy can offer much-needed stability fostering a sense of security during a time of unease and change.
Hold Team-Building Activities
Get creative! There are several platforms and activities to boost team building and collaboration even when working in different locations. Virtual team bonding will look slightly different based on the new remote dynamics but instead of being neglected, it should be nurtured and supported.
Find the right tools for your team
Do your research when it comes to finding the best way to keep your team productive virtually. There are many tools like Google Docs, Mura and more that make whiteboarding and brainstorming easier as well as many different project boards and assignment trackers that make keeping responsibilities easier to manage. In addition, there are plenty of virtual chat rooms, and video or phone conferencing platforms that allow you to break away from the more static email. It’s up to you to determine what mix of tools work best for everyone.
Managing Remote Employees
Ensuring employees are effective in their new virtual setting is essentially a manager’s top priority. Setting remote employees’ best practices and managing their KPIs and growth will differ slightly depending on your industry and goals. What won’t differ is that without confident managerial support, the chances of a successful and productive transition are slim. The following section provides some tips how to best go about managing employees who are working remotely.
Update Your Reporting Strategy
Depending on your industry, expectations, and employee tendencies you will likely need to adjust how you look at your metrics and determine the right measurements of success for your business in its entirety as well the benchmarks set for different individual roles.
The specific way in which you check-in may differ across the board but it’s important when making virtual teams work together to maintain a habit of keeping in touch and emphasizing open lines of honest communication. Let your team members know you care by contacting them frequently establishing a virtual rapport and allowing them an opportunity to speak up without feeling like they need to draw attention to themselves by reaching out to you.
Set Clear Expectations
When thinking about how to manage virtual teams effectively it’s important to eliminate as much confusion early on. Outlining clear and concise expectations, benchmarks, and back up plans with employees upfront will save you the hassle of navigating many potential issues on the fly later on. Be clear about expected behavior, availability and responsiveness as well as any caveats.
Managers are the gatekeepers of a successful transition from onsite working to remote work or telecommuting. It’s important to have some strategies up your sleeve to proactively deal with challenges and support your team as much as possible while still maintaining high productivity.
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