Are you struggling with suddenly being confronted with being in charge of a virtual team? Is it all feeling a bit surreal and overwhelming? Then fear not, we’ve put our heads together and come up with 5 practical tips so you can quickly get to grips with your new situation.
Tip number 1: Plan & communicate well
Most of us already have a fixed daily and weekly schedule with different meetings in ‘normal life’ so the good news is, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you’re just shifting them from a physical to a virtual space. For those who’ve been used to assembling the troops in a more ad-hoc fashion, this is a perfect opportunity to be more structured. Just make sure everyone has the dates and times in their calendar and that they stick to the plan, so they know what’s going on. Your team members will thank you for making their day more predictable!
Tip number 2: Create Work Packages & Goals
You need to speculate to accumulate! Invest the time upfront to create work packages for each member of your team and distribute them regularly and with clear timelines. That way they know who’s doing what and by when and you’ll be able to sleep easier knowing that things are getting done. You might have to do a few test-runs till you get it right but if you’re talking to each other regularly then your investment will pay-off quickly.
Tip number 3: Target your support
This new way of working will feel easier for some than for others. Aside from the technical struggles some of you might be facing (sigh), or the temptation to succumb to what we like to refer to as ‘procrastinitis’, we’re surrounded by potential distractions when we’re working at home compared to when we’re at the office. Even more so if we have kids at home too, who are also getting used to this new situation. So, it’s a good idea to set priorities here too – you can’t take care of everyone and everything so focus on those who really need your help, your advice and your support and let the others get on with their work in peace.
Tip number 4: Respect working time and down-time
We’re not all the same and we don’t all have the same daily rhythm or the same issues to deal with. In the current situation things like getting supplies, schooling kids at home, and getting back to some sense of normality requires more attention and time than usual. So, with the exception of the virtual meetings together, we need to let people organize their routines differently, encourage them to plan their breaks and their down-time and to let everyone else in the team know when that is, so they can respect it. And let’s not forget that this applies to us too!
Tip number 5: Control or trust?
If you’ve been used to checking progress perhaps a little too often, then you now have a golden opportunity to reconsider that management strategy, particularly because it won’t work with a remote team. So, take this chance to rethink your role as a leader. It’s your job to provide the framework and the conditions so your team can perform at its best. If you choose to focus on achievable tasks and goals, and you give your team the flexibility and independence to deliver, then you will be more likely to achieve the desired outcome. Show your team that you trust them and that you rely on them and you will see that the results speak for themselves.
We hope that you found our 5 tips for managing your team from home useful. Perhaps you have some of your own tips to share with everyone? Either way, we’d love to hear from you!