Working from home is not difficult, and there are many tips flying around social media out there for employees, but we thought it might be useful for managers to just check that you have a good structure in place to ensure that a) your team feel included and motivated and b) as a manager you have put in place enough structure for you to feel in control.
The 7 critical success factors are the same that managers of effective remote teams have used and that we have been training for years so nothing trendy, just known to work.
1. Clear direction and leadership
Make sure everyone knows the goals and priorities for coming months; have individual conversations to ask team members to define their own goals. Use published visual milestones. Make sure they have the right resources. You could even create a team charter for the duration by asking the team what they think should be included e.g. no judging of personal decisions (except maybe stock piling toilet rolls!)
2. Set up a communication plan
Draw up a chart with the subjects, the method (whole team Skype/one to one telephone call/email or word document report) , the timings (weekly/fortnightly/end of the month etc) and publish. Take ideas from the team first. People may be used to the casual comms in an office environment and initially not see the need for a more formal plan but will ultimately welcome a bit of structure.
Like all plans this can change. Pilot it for a couple of weeks and adapt. Just talking about how to communicate will make people aware.
3. Set up a use of technology plan
This is the same approach as above. Which media will you use to communicate on which type of issue?
4. Outline the decision making process
Who can make which decisions? Everyone needs to know their own level of initiative that you are expecting. What has to be agreed by the whole team? Which decisions can individuals make and how should they then communicate the decisions. When must you be consulted?
This could be the time when you can really start to empower people.
5. Outline the conflict resolution strategy
It pays to think in advance about what types of conflicts might occur, possible solutions and your strategy.
6. Communicate effectively
Be simple, be vivid, be natural, be concise.
7. Build constructive relationships
Encourage social interactions and personal communications. Watch out for cliques and keep your eye on the independent workers. The introverts will be enthusiastic about homeworking but may suffer and the extroverts will soon hate being alone. Organise a tea and biscuits meeting. Send them fruit or cake. There is a great website at www.sophiesafternoonteas.com where you can order traybakes to be delivered; eat some now and freeze the rest.
High performance leadership is the key to success. Managing remote teams is just the same as normal office based teams, you just have to be more disciplined and planned about the structures you put in place, and stick to them.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a slide deck to send out to managers or organise a Zoom masterclass. We are happy to help.