A little over a year into the pandemic, most professionals have more or less gotten a hang of how to make remote working work for them. In fact, one particular study published by the Harvard Business Review notes that knowledge workers became more productive after the lockdown helped them focus on tasks that really matter and required them to take responsibility for their own schedule. But even then, it can’t be denied that there’s still a lot of things business leaders can do to improve remote work from a management perspective. That being said, here are some tips on how you can better manage your remote teams.
Be smart about meetings
Meetings these days happen on different video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, and many more. And while video chats have become an indispensable tool in keeping teams connected, the truth of the matter is they can be pretty tiring and draining most of the time. To alleviate ‘Zoom fatigue’, what business leaders can do is ensure that meetings are short, sweet, and focused. Thrive Global recommends putting a 30-minute cap on meetings to keep them meaningful and productive.
It would also be a good idea for you to have a set agenda, meeting guidelines, and a simple timetable for every matter that has to be discussed. When it comes to less formal meetings and virtual social events that are meant to help employees deal with self-isolation, make sure to keep them open, but not obligatory. If, for example, you are working with an introverted employee, you can ease their anxiety by making phone calls and emails an option alongside video calls.
Pay attention to your team’s financial wellbeing
Employee financial stress has doubled since the pandemic began. In a survey conducted by John Hancock Retirement, the percentage of individuals reporting high levels of financial stress more than doubled from 11% pre-pandemic to 27% since the onset of the crisis. Aside from providing support packages and giving out cash bonuses for good, what business leaders can do is provide financial literacy workshops and budgeting advice.
Surprisingly, CNBC claims that 40% of Americans don’t actually know how credit works and a lot of people may find themselves relying on credit cards in dire financial times. Petal explains how your credit score relies on how much of your credit you use in relation to your total credit limit. This can be helpful when it comes to getting approved for a loan or credit card. By helping your team build healthy spending habits, they’re more likely to be more empowered and driven in the long run.
During this period of time, it helps to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved by your team. Inc. explains how clearly defining the scope of work, deadlines, and deliverables for each part of a project can help keep individual members focused. To avoid frustration on both sides, try to avoid micromanaging each member’s actions and allow them to work independently. As highlighted in our post ‘3 Ways to Keep Your Business Alive and Thriving’, it would also be good for entrepreneurs to listen to their team’s suggestions and insights about how they can be better managed.
Instead of prioritizing the number of hours worked and overall activity, keep an eye on the outcomes of their assigned tasks, so you can adjust if necessary. Try to keep communication lines clear, and encourage your remote team to ask questions that will give them access to any feedback that they need. Being culturally sensitive and using concise language can also help you clarify any complex details and ensure that everyone’s on the same page.
Overall, remote working is here to stay. To fully harness the multiple benefits it entails, you have to learn how to be smart about meetings, pay attention to your team’s financial wellbeing, and set aside some time to properly manage expectations.