Leading a remote team during uncertain times

By Tim Watkins

Tim Watkins

 

The uncertainty faced by businesses around the world will test even the greatest managers and leaders.

Although many of us have been working from home for some time now, you may be finding it challenging if you and your teams are not used to working remotely, so here are some pointers to check you are doing all you can to get the best out of your people.

Communicate and then communicate some more

Uncertainty produces anxiety throughout your team, other employees, your firm’s customers, suppliers and investors. Silence is not an option as that is often interpreted as bad news.

As such, it is essential to communicate and reinforce a clear perspective of what is happening, what that means for the firm and what you, as a leader, are doing to manage the situation. The best managers and business leaders embrace positivity. Focus on emphasizing the positive messages when communicating with your employees.

Establish regular catch-ups

Thanks to technology such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facetime or Zoom, it’s easy to have online face-to-face meetings with your remote workers. Create a structure that includes weekly or bi-weekly team meetings and regular one-to-one catch up meetings. You can augment this with other means of communication such as WhatsApp messages, emails and calls. You don’t want your people to feel like they are being micro-managed but you do need them to feel like they are part of a team, even when they are working from home.

Take time to understand the home-working circumstances of your team

Talk with individual staff about how their home circumstances may affect their ability to work. For example some of your team members may be sharing a dining table as a workspace or they may have limited access to the internet due to the standard of connectivity that is available where they live. Discuss how this might be managed at home and try to agree a framework to help them to manage their work-life balance.

Embrace your human side

Nobody expects you to have all the answers. It’s ok to ask your people to share their ideas and opinions. Try to put yourself in their shoes – what projects would you want to get involved with if you were in their position? Be sensitive to the fear of change. Changes in circumstances tend to activate feelings of uncertainty among employees. Make your people part of the solution, encourage them to get involved, share your vision for success and give them the opportunity to contribute to that. After all, success is a team sport.

Tim Watkins is Managing Partner and is happy to talk through any concerns you have during these uncertain times – call 01242 776000 to request a call back or email Tim.Watkins@randall-payne.co.uk.

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