It’s important to check-in with your teams regularly, ensuring there are plenty of avenues of communication. Choose the tools which work best for your teams, some organisations do video calls and direct messenger to avoid large volumes of email, whilst others find that creating WhatsApp groups for various different projects enables effective and timely communication.
Daily contact with your team is a great way to check on each other’s wellbeing and stay in touch. Schedule a coffee meeting for the same time each day and try to spend some time talking about non-work related things too. This is important in the building of trust, camaraderie and familiarity with your direct reports and extended colleagues.
Set clear expectations
It’s important that all expectations and requirements are clear, timed and well communicated.
Don’t agree a deadline of ’as quickly as possible’ – instead be specific and use calendars to effectively manage project deadlines. The more prepared and advised your team are, the better they will perform.
By setting up standard, work-from-home guidelines, e.g. emails must be responded to within 24 hours, use text for urgent matters, no calls after certain hours etc. you won’t need to keep repeating expectations and they will just become the norm.
Use video, not phone
While you may not be in the same office as your employees, you can still replicate that face-to-face connection by using video conferencing technologies such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts. Video helps you pick up on non-verbal cues, enabling better interaction, and helps you build stronger rapport than an ordinary phone call. Use video calls with clients where possible too and encourage your teams to do the same.
Respect your employees’ work hours
Understand every one will approach this differently, with some employees will work best in the morning, others late in the evenings. Try to factor this in to any plans and ensure that team meetings or workshops are at times that work for everyone. This should include non-compulsory meetings and those less formal catch ups – it’s important that everyone feels part of the team even if they’re working different hours.
Trust your team and focus on goals not activity
Successful remote-working relationships are built on trust and the management of performance.
It is important to trust your people to do the work based on the expectations you’ve set. Don’t worry as much about what is being done and instead, concentrate on what is being accomplished.
Swap an email or instant message for a video or phone call to make it more personal and help overcome feelings of isolation. Could you have a Friday Funday where you all take part in a quiz or take turns to share some positive news or do group exercises or craft classes throughout the week?
Remember, remote working is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to loneliness and isolation, your team members will also be suffering from the effects of not seeing family and friends in addition to the general stress caused by the current situation.
If you have concerns about the mental wellbeing of any of your colleagues, it’s important to seek relevant support. Here are some useful links: