Working remotely had been a growing trend in the past few years, but in recent months, businesses around the globe are forced to jump on the bandwagon. Many companies were caught unprepared, yet the enforcement of shutdowns in major cities makes remote work inevitable if they want to maintain business continuity. For this reason, managers need to reconsider how they motivate their teams.
This might prove to be more challenging than it might seem. For instance, research suggests that employees who work from home are less motivated. Therefore, the best techniques for leading teams in-person is no longer an option for businesses to achieve its customary level of productivity.
Frequent & caring communications
When face-to-face interactions are limited, clear and concise communication becomes increasingly important. Frequent communication ensures the team is in-sync and reduces chances of misinterpretation. By opening the lines of communications, you are more likely to increase clarity and effectiveness. Some leaders suggest reaching out to direct reports at least once a day without a specific agenda, giving employees a chance to keep supervisors updated. Furthermore, caring communication ensures remote managers can gather feedback, take corrective action and provide support for workers.
Studies have found that allowing employees more flexibility gave positive results in terms of increased total hours worked and productivity, as well as reduced burnout and sick time. Flexible working arrangements can also help organisations attract new employees and increase retention. Additionally, when employees are trained and guided appropriately, they feel far more empowered to manage tasks. As such, managers should set clear expectations and standards to help their teams succeed.
The success of flexible work rides heavily on the culture and value of the organisation. A University of Oxford study conducted globally across over 4,000 companies found that such programmes work best in cultures where managers trust employees to be responsible and conscientious. Employees feel more supported because they are given the autonomy to manage their schedule and workflow.
Leverage technology for efficient meetings & projects
There are a wide range of online tools to help remote teams connect and communicate efficiently. By leveraging the right technology, managers can ensure remote teams are operating at optimum capacity and are kept informed. Telecommunications applications such as Zoom and Skype are great for video conferencing. Project management tools such as Monday.com and Asana help remote teams organise, track and manage their work effectively. Sharing platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drives can help managers and teams collaborate more seamlessly.
Virtual team-building Activities
Keeping the team motivated and engaged is one of the most important tasks for managers to establish a sense of community. Managers can bring the office happy hour online and allow members to connect in a more casual setting. Building a cohesive team is the first step to building a productive team, which let managers understand the team better and manage them more effectively.
Adapting leadership to suit the new paradigm
Business managers must adjust their leadership methods to suit these new ways of working. It is prudent to start adopting best practices, which will be handy, even after the pandemic is over.