Remote Working – Team Management

Lynne Griffiths

Remote and hybrid roles are now the norm. And in a candidate-led market, if you can be flexible – be flexible!

As with most things in life, there are positives and negatives about remote working – and being the manager of a remote team. Here are some core considerations that will help the remote manager to build a strong and productive team foundation.

Probably the most well known of the remote concerns is that employees can worry that not being in the office, they feel under pressure to be online and available 24/7. So, for example, managers need to be careful with their communications as emails/texts sent over the weekend and out of hours could make the employee feel obliged to read and respond. Agree ways of working and communicating. Make sure every team member is clear about how you will work together remotely, how you keep each other updated, and how frequently.

Set expectations (and productivity goals) and trust your team. Focus on results rather than activity. Make sure team members have the support and equipment they need – set them up to succeed. Keep your calendar visible and maintain a virtual open door.

Be more sensitive to employees as you are missing the in person, body language signals and so need to watch, listen and empathise at a higher level. As with non-remote team management, don’t just communicate negative news and information, share the positive! And during the working week, encourage your team to block off some time throughout the day to take a break – and monitor this informally to show that it’s a genuine directive and not just lip service.

Something that has come up in our dealings with candidates is that if team members are in the office, engage with them! Don’t just have them come in, sit in silence doing their work then they leave. Make some time to have a conversation, get together, check in – make the most of the human touch.

Equally, you can treat your remote team members as individuals, as human beings – check in with them personally, you can spare a couple of minutes to make it not just about work.

At the core of effective working from home is communication. A daily video call, even for just a few minutes, will encourage employees to feel in touch and connected, as well as sharing work information(and short appropriate personal updates!).

Remote working is here to stay so embrace it, have a clear and real strategy, make it work and your remote workforce can reap great benefits both for themselves and for the company. So, in a nutshell, the “secret” to successful remote team management is to instil and encourage a working culture of open communication, trust and clearly understood expectation. Get that right and you have a solid foundation for team motivation and success.