If you weren’t already managing a remote workforce, the COVID-19 pandemic has put you in this position. You likely lead a virtual team for most of 2020, so you’ve been doing it for a while now, but you know there’s room to improve.
As a manager, you want your employees to feel challenged, supported, and fulfilled. Here’s some advice to accomplish this, so you can effectively lead your team.
Make Your Expectations Clear
Your employees aren’t mind-readers. It’s easy for miscommunication to occur when you’re not physically in the same place as one another. Avoid this by setting expectations that leave no room for interpretation. For example, give definitive task deadlines instead of asking someone to complete an assignment when they have a minute.
Have Regular Check-Ins
Let employees know you’re still here for them, despite not working in the same office. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with each team member so they know they have a dedicated time to talk with you uninterrupted. Use this opportunity to ask how they’re doing — personally and professionally — learn more about their future goals, and find out what you can do to support them better.
Working from home comes with challenges for many employees. For example, some are trying to simultaneously care for young kids, making following standard office hours difficult — if not impossible. Offer as much flexibility as possible with work hours so that people can enjoy a sense of balance between their personal and professional lives.
Focus on Results
As noted above, enforcing strict work hours can make life very difficult for employees. Besides offering flexible schedules, try to concentrate more on team members’ results, instead of the amount of time they’re in front of the computer each day. Some people work faster than others, so the important thing to note is whether they’re meeting deadlines and quality standards.
Have Fun Virtually
Team-bonding is essential for every group of employees — even those who aren’t working in the same location. Set aside time for your team to relax and have fun together, so people can build and maintain their relationships. For example, if your company has the budget, order everyone lunch and eat together on a video chat, have themed outfit days, or invite everyone to bring their pet on a video call for an introduction to the group.
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