Managing remote teams

Pubished 27th March 2020

As more and more employees are mandated to work from home it’s important to ensure the least impact to our relative businesses as possible. Not only is it important for employees to follow good practices for working from home; maintain a clean and separate workspace, having a normal pre-work routine, taking regular breaks etc, but it’s also important for employers to follow some simple guidelines to ensure their remote employees are still as engaged as possible.

Over the past weeks our respective worlds have been totally turned upside down and for a lot of us, working from home and managing a remote team is new to us. So here are some tips to ensuring an engaged remote workforce:

1. Technology – We’re very lucky to have a plethora of tools to support teamwork with a remote workforce. Here at InterQuest we rolled out Microsoft Teams a couple weeks ago and it couldn’t have been a better time to do so. We’re all still learning the various best practices of Teams and we’d be scrambling without it. It’s imperative to have the right technology for your specific organisation to remove the typical impediments of working from home.

2. Interactions – We’ve set up group calls and check-ins throughout the day to maintain a team environment. It’s also important to have face-to-face time with other colleagues in the organisation, clients, and prospects to continue to drive your business forward. In addition to scheduled check-ins, make sure you’re also connecting ad-hoc throughout the day to ensure your employees do not feel like they are “on an island” and don’t have the support they are used to when working side by side with their team and leadership.

3. Accountability – This is something that should be a standard part of your organisation whether working from home or in the office. Make sure your employees know what is expected of and be clear on your expectations, how performance will be measured and evaluated.

4. Trust – While this way of working may be new to most of us, it is still important to show a level of trust in your team and employees. These individuals were in these roles for a reason before this transition and it’s important that each employee feels a level of trust from their leadership

5. Adaptability – As many of us are just getting used to this new way of working, we need to be open to new suggestions on how to continue to improve. We cannot expect that the structure that was set up in the beginning of the transition is the only way to make this effective. As leaders, it is important for us to be willing to hear feedback, consider the impact to the business and make thoughtful decisions on what to keep, what to throw away, and what to improve.

Finally, make sure you’re trying to hold on to some of the stuff that made your team so strong prior to the shift. For us, we have a very strong sense of camaraderie throughout our offices. We’re all on the same mission and expect a lot from each other. We celebrate the wins and learn from the losses together. As we’ve seen throughout social media the past few days, video Happy Hours are a great way to hold on to that sense of camaraderie and continue to build strong relationships with geographically dispersed teams.

Please continue to stay safe and practice social distancing while we all work to get through this unprecedented time in our lives. Best of luck and hopefully some of these tips work for you and your team.