Zoe Donnelly, Group Talent Partner at M247 has worked at home at least twice a week for the past four years and whilst home/flexible working has started to gather momentum, for many this will be the first time they and their teams have worked from home.
Managing teams remotely, especially as a new manager or new to home working brings its own challenges for a leadership team. However, this crisis could completely transform how we work forever. Zoe gives her advice, hints and tips for Managers that are now being forced to manage teams from home.
The key to working at home is communication, communication, communication.
- Have regular set check-ins. This could be daily, once a week, twice weekly but book these catch-ups in and do your best to honour this time. You might want to use one check-in to discuss work and the second check-in of the week to chat and make sure your team member is ok. It will create a sense of structure.
- Set goals and objectives early. Take this opportunity to clarify and re-clarify roles. Make sure individuals are aware of their own goals, the team’s goals and how each person contributes to the outcome. Focus on activity and productivity levels, as output can be uncertain in these times.
- Do not treat everyone the same. We are all individuals and we all have different working styles. Some will need structure and discipline and will like a morning and afternoon call and check-in and others will be very happy to self-motivate and will be frustrated if you constantly call for an update. Know your team and their working styles
- Use unified communications and turn on your Video Cam. At M247 we are heavy users of Microsoft Teams, it’s a great way to work remotely. It’s very user friendly, even for technophobes. You can set up group chat, share files, video conferencing and much more. I highly recommend you use video calling where possible to check in with your colleagues / teams and to maintain social, visual bonds.
- Encourage your team to take full breaks. This is important as I find many hours can pass without realising when working from home. Encourage and make you team know they should get out and go for a walk. Leave the phone at home so they completely switch off for that period and come back refreshed.
- Be patient with yourself and your team as you adapt to new working methods and tools. This is a new way of working for the majority, ignore the need to micromanage. Some team members will really enjoy working from home, others will struggle especially if they live on their own and enjoy the office environment. Be kind.
This is a very strange and unprecedented time for us all. It’s a period of great change to the way we work and interact with others. Working from home is a big change for many, however we hope these tips will help as we all navigate this period together as smooth as possible. Stay safe.