As if management was not already hard enough, now most of the world has gone remote. While there is so much to love about the opportunities that remote work provides all of us, that does not mean it is perfect. As a manager part of your job is to create a collaborative environment, encourage team building, and monitor task progress, which can be challenging to do from behind your computer screen. Thankfully since remote teams are now more of the rule than the exception there is tons of information available with tips and tricks for how to find success in your management role while being physically apart from your team.
In this post-pandemic world, there are so many types of software programs that assist in bringing teams together from multiple locations. Take advantage of this fact and research software programs that suit your specific goals as a manager. What types of responsibilities did you have that were formally met by in-person communications? Think of those specific responsibilities when looking for programs to use. The word tracking might feel like an invasion of privacy to many but in some settings like fleet management for example is it a common, and necessary part of the job.
As a driver, you probably assume that your company vehicle is being tracked by management for reasons like route efficiency and maintenance reports. And as a manager you already know that these are essential components of you being able to successfully do your job daily. After you have these basic responsibilities covered with software programs you can move towards focusing on utilizing a fleet management platform that lets you focus on growing your business. Your team can stay connected to the WiFi hotspot and carry out their duties while you analyze that data to drive business forward.
Keep Up the Energy
Let us face it, working remote has not become synonymous with energy. By now people are so well used to working in their pajamas and taking a mid-day snooze that the bubbly energy that they might have genuinely projected in person has diminished. Not for everyone, but for some, this absence of in-person excitement can affect productivity. Since you must cater your management style to flex with everyone on your team, think about how you can interject that excitement back into the group, remotely.
Trial and error is a great way to learn how to keep your remote team motivated and engaged. What works for one may not work for all, and you are not going to have these answers until you try a variety of approaches. No matter which tactics you employ however, your team is going to follow your lead. As a manager it is part of your responsibility to be the example of positive energy and upbeat communications and keep the door open for others to follow your lead. Energy matching is a trendy term right now so be mindful that your team is being conditioned to do as you do, not as you say.
Be Organized and Flexible
You must adapt to this new normal. Switching up your expectations might feel uncomfortable and like you are giving too much slack on the rope but since the boom in remote work employees are reporting that a healthy balance of management and autonomy is what helps them best thrive. Have a concrete plan or idea but allow flexibility regarding the approach. This will also encourage continued collaboration within your team and make your direct reports feel like their time is still of value to you.
If tasks are still being completed and the quality of work is not decreasing, do you best to not harp on the fact that someone is doing it at 8pm now instead of 2pm like when they were in the office. Be clear about your expectations regarding availability during the traditional business day but outside of those expectations, be flexible.
Public praise is greatly lacking within remote working environments, so it is important that you do not forget to still prioritize it. Celebrating the accomplishments of your team as well as the individuals within it is a great way to positively reinforce hard work and dedication with an autonomous environment. It is good for everyone to hear that there are still goals being met and efforts geared towards growth that are not being made in vain. Think about different types of virtual celebration ideas that will both flatter and bond your team. Consider a weekly team email that publicly acknowledges these successes or even starting your Zoom calls with a short acknowledgement of the most recent success of someone on the call.