How to care for your remote team during COVID-19

Work from home (WFH) is one of the ‘new normal’ terms we hear a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For some organizations, this is a temporary process, and for others, it could be the next stage in their business’s transformation.

Regardless of the duration, there are some additional measures that managers need to do take extra care of their WFH team.

Trethowans
Trethowans

Here are some suggestions on how you can achieve this and care for your remote team during (and after) COVID-19.

Promote autonomy

Despite your good intentions, you can’t be available for everyone all the time. Another new term getting a lot of inter buzz right now is self-service. What this means is employees and customers, getting information from your business by themselves.

As a manager, you need to empower your staff to be able to find out answers on their own. By providing access to an online knowledge base, this allows your team to search for and find solutions to problems, without needing to come to you.

It would be wise to learn more about self service to find out how you can encourage a more autonomous workforce.

Check-in often

Now more than ever, you need to make time to connect with your team members, both one-on-one and in a group environment. The internet makes this simple. Access to video web applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts, means that face-to-face contact is easily achieved.

Schedule time every day to chat with your staff. Don’t forget to ask ‘are you ok?’. Many people are currently experiencing strict lockdown conditions, and their daily contact with you might be the only person-to-person connection they have that day.

Don’t just make it about work

There are excellent team-building opportunities brought about by this WFH situation. Don’t only schedule team meetings that are about business.

Consider having an online social gathering like a ‘coffee break chat’ or play some group games. An enjoyable way to find out more about each other is to hold an ‘MTV Cribs’ style activity. If your staff are comfortable with it, let them give a virtual tour of their house or apartment. 

These types of personal interaction activities are an effortless way to discover more about each other and maybe even find some common interests that weren’t obvious in the workplace.

Keep them busy

WFH can be daunting for many people, especially those who thrive on social interaction. It can feel lonely and isolated. One way to take the focus off this is to keep your staff busy.

Setting daily, weekly, or even monthly targets, and having strict reporting on this, will not only give them something to concentrate on but will ensure productivity.

Be careful not to overload them, though. A perceived insurmountable workload may be a deterrent rather than an act of encouragement.

The new normal

Working from home is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. To get the most from your team and to be an effective leader, this is the time for you to be more present. 

Check-in with everyone daily, however, don’t always make it a work chat. Be available when needed, but encourage your staff to be more autonomous. It’ll make them better workers when this pandemic has passed, and things can return to the previous normal.

Photo by Charles Deluvio